Drone strike killed civilians
The US has confirmed that a drone strike in Kabul killed ten civilians just days before its military withdrawal.
An aid worker and nine members of his family, including seven children, were killed in the 29 August strike, according to a US Central Command inquiry.
Sumaya, the youngest child, was just two years old.
Days after a terror attack at Kabul airport, the devastating strike occurred during a frantic evacuation operation following the Taliban’s unexpected return to power.
It was one of the last acts of the US troops in Afghanistan before the country’s 20-year war ended.
US Central Command Gen Kenneth McKenzie said US intelligence had traced the aid worker’s car for eight hours, assuming it was related to IS-K fighters, a local offshoot of the Islamic State (IS).
Property damage in drone strike
The man’s automobile had been sighted at an IS-K facility, and its movements matched previous intelligence regarding the terror group’s intentions for an attack on Kabul airport, according to the inquiry.
A surveillance drone spotted individuals placing what appeared to be bombed into the car’s boot, but they turned out to be water containers.
The strike, according to Gen McKenzie, was a “tragic mistake,” and the Taliban were not involved in the intelligence that led to the strike.
The strike began as the aid worker, Zamairi Ahmadi, drove into the driveway of his home, which was 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from the airport.
The blow triggered a secondary explosion, which US officials first interpreted as proof that the car was carrying explosives. However, an inquiry revealed that the culprit was most likely a propane tank in the driveway.
US admits of civilian killings
Ahmad Naser, a translator for US soldiers, was among those murdered. Other victims had worked for international organizations and had visas that allowed them to enter the United States.
The day after the strike, relatives of the victims told the media that they had sought to be evacuated and were waiting for a phone call asking them to head to the airport.
“We now know that there was no connection between Mr. Ahmadi and Isis-Khorasan, that his activities on that day were absolutely innocuous, and not at all related to the impending threat we feared we faced,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
“We sincerely apologize, and we will make every effort to learn from this heinous error.”
The heinous effects of the US military’s blunder have raised concerns about the precision of future counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan without the US on the ground.
But, more importantly, this disaster revealed the terrible human cost of a war fought primarily from the air for years.
The fact that it happened so soon after the Americans finished their 20-year occupation will further add to the chaos of the US leave.
However, it is a particularly clear example of the persistent hazards of drone warfare for people in the region.
When the United States began to withdraw its soldiers from Afghanistan, the Taliban launched a lightning-fast offensive that took control of the country in less than two weeks.
On August 15, President Ashraf Ghani escaped to the United Arab Emirates, and Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, fell.
Thousands of people attempted to evacuate, prompting a massive evacuation effort by the US and its allies. Many of the victims were foreign nationals or Afghans who had previously worked for other countries.
Kabul airport suicide attack
At Kabul airport, there were scenes of panic and disorder, and some individuals died after attempting to cling to US military planes as they took off.
On August 26, a suicide bomber murdered up to 170 civilians and 13 US military outside the airport, escalating the security situation. IS-K claimed responsibility for the attack.
Many of that slain had hoped to catch one of the city’s evacuation aircraft.
On August 31, the last US soldier left Afghanistan, meeting President Joe Biden’s deadline for the US withdrawal.
Prior to the attack, more than 124,000 foreigners and Afghans were flown out of the country. However, some people were unable to flee in time, and evacuation attempts are still underway.