The US military said on Friday that a drone attack in Kabul last month killed 10 civilians, including seven children, and apologized for what the Pentagon said was a tragic mistake.
Senior US officials said the August 29 strike came after foreign forces completed the final phase of their withdrawal from Afghanistan and targeted an Islamic State suicide bomber who posed an imminent threat to Kabul airport. .
“At the time of the strike, I was confident that an imminent threat to our forces at the airport was averted,” US General Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, told reporters. “Our investigation now concludes that the strike was a tragic mistake.”
He said he now believes the dead are unlikely to be Islamic State terrorists or a direct threat to the US military. McKenzie said the Pentagon is considering compensation for civilians killed.
Reports emerged almost immediately that civilians, including children, had been killed in the drone strike. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers, said at the time that seven people had been killed in the attack.
– Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idris Ali; Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle