US not to punish troops over deadly Kabul airstrike
After killing innocent civilians in what the Pentagon said was not a violation of the law of war, the United States, once again, acquits itself and its personnel from murder.
The Pentagon said Monday no US troops or officials would face disciplinary action for the August drone strike in Kabul that brutally took the lives of 10 civilians, seven of which were children.
US Department of Defense Spokesperson John Kirby and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had received a high-level review of the strike that made no recommendation of accountability.
"There was not a strong enough case to be made for personal accountability," the former said.
Aimal Ahmadi, 32, who lost his three-year-old daughter, his brother, and six nephews and nieces in the strike, voiced anger at the decision on Tuesday. "God will take revenge," he said.
"What if the US had lost a child? What would the reaction have been?" he heartbreakingly asked.
The Taliban urged Washington to reverse the decision. "The US should punish the culprits and compensate the victims," a spokesman for the group said.
The drone strike, which killed innocent civilians on August 29, took place in the final days of the US-led evacuation of Kabul after the Taliban took over the country.
US officials had claimed they had received intelligence of a possible ISIS-K attack on the evacuation operation at Kabul Airport and launched a missile from a drone at the civilian vehicle, which they had monitored for 8 hours - a sufficient amount of time to determine it was not a car laden with munitions.
"What we saw here was a breakdown in process, in execution and procedural events, not the result of negligence, not the result of misconduct, not the result of poor leadership," said John Kirby.
If Austin "believed... that accountability was warranted, he would certainly support those kinds of efforts," Kirby added.
US state secretary Antony Blinken was questioned by GOP Senator Rand Paul about the drone strike before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and through his answer to one particular question, Blinken admitted that he does not know whether the drone strike killed an ISIS-K operative or an aid worker.
"The guy the Biden administration droned, was he an aid worker or an ISIS-K operative?" asked Senator Paul, addressing Blinken regarding the aforementioned drone strike after asking him about US aid to Afghanistan.
According to Reuters, the US Department of Defense said on November 3 the airstrike 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 relatives of the victims whose lives were taken by the drone strike demanded a face-to-face apology and compensation for the losses they endured.