US Admits Kabul Drone Strike Killed Civilians

The US has confessed that a drone attack in Kabul killed ten civilians only days before its military withdrawal.

An aid worker and nine members of his family, including seven children, perished in the 29 August strike, according to a US Central Command inquiry.

Sumaya, the youngest kid, was just two years old.

The deadly strike happened days after a terror attack at Kabul airport, amid a frenzied evacuation effort following the Taliban’s sudden return to power.

It was one of the US military’s final acts in Afghanistan, before ending its 20-year operation in the country.

US intelligence had tracked the aid worker’s car for eight hours, believing it was linked to IS-K militants – a local branch of the Islamic State (IS) group, US Central Command Gen Kenneth McKenzie said.

The investigation found the man’s car had been seen at a compound associated with IS-K, and its movements aligned with other intelligence about the terror group’s plans for an attack on Kabul airport.

At one point, a surveillance drone saw men loading what appeared to be explosives into the boot of the car, but these turned out to be containers of water.

The strike, according to Gen McKenzie, was a “tragic error,” and the Taliban were not engaged in the information that led to the strike.

The strike happened as the aid worker – named as Zamairi Ahmadi – pulled into the driveway of his home, 3km (1.8 miles) from the airport.

The explosion set off a secondary blast, which US officials initially said was proof that the car was indeed carrying explosives. However the investigation has found it was most likely caused by a propane tank in the driveway.

One of those killed, Ahmad Naser, had been a translator with US forces. Other victims had previously worked for international organisations and held visas allowing them entry to the US.

Relatives of the victims told the BBC the day after the strike that they had applied to be evacuated, and had been waiting for a phone call telling them to go to the airport.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said: “We now know that there was no connection between Mr Ahmadi and Isis-Khorasan, that his activities on that day were completely harmless and not at all related to the imminent threat we believed we faced.

“We apologise, and we will endeavour to learn from this horrible mistake.”

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