Pentagon releases lethal drone strike footage in Afghanistan
The New York Times acquired video footage of the US military's lethal drone strike which killed 10 in August.
Video footage of a US drone strike in Kabul which has executed 10 civilians in the final hours of US withdrawal was released and declassified by the Pentagon.
The New York Times acquired the video through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against US Central Command, after which the imagery was posted on the website. This would be the first video footage publicized regarding the airstrike which happened on the 29th of August.
Initially defending the airstrike, the Pentagon then called it a mistake.
The video footage is 25 minutes long, showing two MQ-9 Reaper drones, exhibiting scenes before, during, and after a missile struck a civilian car in an Afghan neighborhood. People in the video were moving in and near the site of the attack.
The victims of the airstrike included Zemari Ahmadi and 9 members of his family, including 7 children. Ahmadi worked for a US-based aid organization.
'We did nothing wrong'
An investigation by the Pentagon concluded that the airstrike was an "honest mistake" and no legal or disciplinary action was recommended afterward. This caused outrage among human rights groups, activists, and the US Congress itself.
Critics weighed in on the matter, saying that the report spills into a culture of impunity. US drone warfare has an array of systemic problems which have not been addressed in light of the issue, including the fact that civilian casualties cannot be avoided through Washington's targeting.
A US airforce inspector general, Sami Said, said that operators confused a white Toyota Corolla with a terrorist car, also failing to see any sight of children (although there were 7 of them). Said didn't find any reason to believe that the US did anything wrong.
“The investigation found no violation of law, including the law of war. Execution errors combined with confirmation bias and communication breakdowns led to regrettable civilian casualties,” the report said.
“It was an honest mistake,” Said told correspondents at the Pentagon. “But it’s not criminal conduct, random conduct, negligence.”