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Pentagon reverses itself, calls deadly Kabul strike an error

US Afghanistan
Posted at 12:29 PM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 16:17:20-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon has retreated from its defense of a drone strike that killed multiple civilians in Afghanistan last month.

It announced Friday that an internal review revealed that only civilians were killed in the attack, not an Islamic State extremist as first believed.

According to the Associated Press, 10 civilians, including seven children, were killed.

"It was a tragic mistake," Gen. Frank McKenzie, Commander of U.S. Central Command, said Friday during a press briefing.

For days after the Aug. 29 strike, Pentagon officials asserted that it had been conducted correctly, despite numerous civilians being killed, including children.

On Friday, Gen. McKenzie said he took full responsibility for the tragic outcome and offered condolences to the victim's family members.

"I offer my profound condolences to the family and friends of those who were killed," Gen. McKenzie said. "This strike was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport, but it was a mistake, and I offer my sincere apology."

Gen. McKenzie said they are considering making reparation payments to the family of the victims.

News organizations later raised doubts about that version of events, reporting that the driver of the targeted vehicle was a longtime employee at an American humanitarian organization and citing an absence of evidence to support the Pentagon's assertion that the vehicle contained explosives.