Pentagon: No US troops to be punished for Afghan drone strike

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Relatives and neighbors of the Ahmadi family gathered around the incinerated husk of a vehicle targeted and hit by an U.S. drone strike that was supposed to target ISIS-K suicide bombers but instead killed 10 civilians including 7 children, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The aftermath of the drone strike in the Afghan capital, Kabul

The US has said no American troops or officials will be held accountable for a drone strike that killed 10 people in Afghanistan in August.

The attack took place during the final days of the US-led evacuation of Kabul after the Taliban seized control.

An aid worker and nine members of his family, including seven children, died in the strike.

American intelligence had believed the aid worker's car was linked to IS-K, a local branch of Islamic State.

But in the aftermath, US Central Command's Gen Kenneth McKenzie described the strike on 29 August as a "tragic mistake".

A high-level internal review published last month, concluded that that there was no need for disciplinary action, since no law had been broken, and there was no evidence of misconduct or negligence.

Several US media outlets reported that the review was approved on Monday by Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The strike happened days after a suicide bomber killed up to 170 civilians and 13 US troops outside Kabul airport.

Media caption,

Emal Ahmadi: "Ten people died here... including my daughter, she was two years old"

US forces had targeted a car belonging to aid worker Zamairi Ahmadi, and the strike was launched as he pulled into the driveway of his home, 3km (1.8 miles) from the airport.

The vehicle had been seen at a compound associated with IS-K, and its movements aligned with other intelligence about the terror group's plans for another attack.

The explosion set off a secondary blast, which US officials initially said was proof that the car was indeed carrying explosives. However, an investigation found it was most likely caused by a propane tank in the driveway.