Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., Commander of United States Central Command, speaks to the Senate Armed Services Committee on “Defense Clearance Request for Exercise 2022 and State Central Command United and United States Africa Command under the review of the defense program for the coming years ”testified during Thursday, April 22, 2021 in Washington.
Caroline Brehman | CQ-ROLL CALL, INC. | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon said on Friday that 10 civilians, including seven children, were killed in a U.S. drone strike in Kabul last month.
United States Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, Commander of United States Central Command, said on Friday: “The attack was carried out with the belief that it would deter an imminent threat to our forces and those in the United States. airport, but it was a mistake. “
McKenzie, who oversees US military operations in the region, said: “As Commander of the Fighters, I am fully responsible for this attack and its tragic outcome. “
The Pentagon initially said the August 29 strike killed two ISIS-K fighters who were planning an attack on US forces in Kabul.
Army Major-General William Taylor said at the time of the strike that there had been no known civilian casualties. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the United States had neither briefed nor coordinated with the Taliban before the attack. He said the Defense Department had failed to notify other countries in the region, or US lawmakers.
The drone attack follows an ISIS-K suicide bombing that killed 13 U.S. servicemen and dozens of Afghans near Hamid Karzai International Airport, where massive evacuation efforts were In progress.
In this photo obtained by Reuters on August 23, 2021, members of the British armed forces continue to assist in the evacuation of authorized personnel from the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, from August 19 to 22, 2021.
UKMOD | via Reuters
In April, Biden ordered the complete withdrawal of approximately 3,000 US troops from Afghanistan by September 11. He then gave an updated schedule indicating that the US military mission in Afghanistan would end on August 31.
In the last few weeks of the planned exodus of foreign forces from the country, the Taliban have achieved astonishing success on the battlefield. On August 15, the group seized the presidential palace in Kabul, prompting Western governments to speed up efforts to evacuate civilians, diplomats and Afghan civilians at risk.
Following the Taliban takeover, Biden defended his decision to withdraw the US military from Afghanistan, but ordered the temporary deployment of thousands of US troops to Kabul to help with the evacuation efforts.
The US military mission in Afghanistan ended on August 31 after the evacuation of approximately 125,000 people from the country. Of that total, approximately 6,000 were US citizens and their families.
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