Afghanistan: U.S. strike that killed 10 Afghan civilians complies with law of war, Pentagon says
Steph Deschamps / November 4, 2021
The U.S. drone strike that killed 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children, in Kabul on Aug. 29 was a tragic mistake but did not violate the laws of war, the Pentagon said Wednesday after an internal investigation.
The investigation did not identify any violations of the law, including the laws of war, Lt. Gen. Sami Said, a Defense Ministry official, said in a report.
Execution errors combined with confirmation bias and communication breakdowns resulted in unfortunate civilian casualties, he added.
Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Lt. Gen. Said insisted that this was a mistake, not criminal, random or negligent behavior.
Those involved believed at the time that they were targeting an imminent threat, he said in his report.
On August 29, in the midst of the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the U.S. military destroyed a white Toyota Corolla vehicle, claiming it was loaded with explosives and claiming that it had foiled an attempted attack by the local branch of the Islamic State, EI-K.
But the family of the driver of the vehicle, Ezmarai Ahmadi, reported that he was employed by an NGO and that ten people, including seven children, were killed.
During the investigation led by Lt. Gen. Said, 29 people, including 22 directly involved in the strike, were questioned under oath.