Pentagon: Afghan Strike Not in Violation of Law
The Pentagon's inspector general says people who were directly involved in the strike on civilians and children believed they were targeting an imminent threat.
According to Reuters, the US Department of Defense said on Wednesday that the airstrike that killed 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children in Kabul on August 29 was a "tragic mistake" but did not violate the laws of war.
After an internal investigation into the raid, the Pentagon's Lieutenant General Sami D. Said claimed the investigation did not reveal any violation of the laws of war.
The US launched its strike during its chaotic withdrawal
The Pentagon had originally claimed that the strike attempted to hit an Islamic State suicide bomber who posed an urgent threat to US-led soldiers at the airport as they executed the final stages of withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The US launched its strike during the peak of its chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. On August 29, the US military destroyed a white Toyota Corolla which it claimed was laden with explosives.
The US claimed they thwarted an attack from IS in Khorasan, but the family of the driver reported that he was working for an NGO and that ten people including 7 children were killed in the strike.
According to the Pentagon's inspector general, US personnel assumed the building next to the attack site was vacant, and those in charge of analyzing satellite footage did not see a youngster entering the observation area two minutes before the hit.
The US concluded that the fatal attack on August 26 was carried out with a bomb hidden in a computer bag.
Said explained that when the American military saw two men exchanging a computer bag three days later, they immediately believed that the two men being watched belonged to ISIS. "It was actually a simple computer bag," he added.
The report recommends, in particular, a review of pre-strike procedures to assess the presence of civilians.
The US military pursued the wrong car
Said stressed that the responsibility for the failure cannot be bestowed on one person, and that determining whether a punishment is due is not his responsibility.
He explained that the military had information about an imminent attack that involved a white Toyota Corolla, but the US military pursued the wrong car.
The investigation included 29 people interrogated under oath, including 22 direct participants in the strike.
In mid-September, Washington admitted that it had killed 10 civilians, including seven children, in the drone strike the US airforce carried out in Kabul.
Confirmation of civilian casualties bolsters critics of the chaotic withdrawal of the US and the evacuation of Afghan allies, which was sparked the biggest crisis yet for the Biden administration.