The Biden administration's Aug. 29 retaliatory drone strike on supposed ISIS-K terrorists in Afghanistan failed to kill any terrorists but resulted in the deaths of 10 civilians — including an aid worker and 7 children — a U.S. military investigation has determined.
Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of the U.S. Central Command, made the announcement Friday afternoon in a Pentagon news conference, saying, "I am now convinced that as many as 10 civilians, including up to seven children, were tragically killed in that strike."
"Moreover," he continued, "It is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died were associated with ISIS Khorasan or were a direct threat to U.S. forces."
"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," McKenzie added.
#BREAKING: "It was a mistake" 10 civilians, 7 children KILLED in US drone strike www.youtube.com
The drone strike came on the heels of an ISIS-K terror attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul that killed 13 U.S. service members and at least 100 Afghan civilians while injuring hundreds more.
Following that attack, President Joe Biden vowed that the U.S. would retaliate, declaring in a speech from the White House, "To those who carried out this attack ... know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay."
And so the U.S. military did retaliate on Aug. 29 by striking a supposed ISIS-K planner believed to be transporting explosives in the trunk of his Toyota sedan.
"Initial indications are that we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualties," said U.S. Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban, USN, in a statement. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, later touted the revenge attack as a "righteous strike."
But in the days following, the success of the strike was called into question, namely by the New York Times. The paper, through an investigation of its own, concluded that the attack did not terminate an ISIS-K terrorist but actually killed an innocent man who worked for a U.S. aid group along with his family.
On Friday, the Times saw its reporting confirmed by the U.S. military.
"The explosives the military claimed were loaded in the trunk of a white Toyota sedan struck by the drone's Hellfire missile were most likely water bottles, and a secondary explosion in the courtyard in a densely populated Kabul neighborhood where that attack took place was probably a propane or gas tank, [McKenzie] said," the paper reported. "In short, the car posed no threat at all, investigators concluded."