The White House said Monday that the US has carried out two “successful” airstrikes in Afghanistan since the ISIS attack at the Kabul airport, including Sunday’s drone strike that witnesses say killed 10 civilians, including seven children.
“I would say the fact that we have had two successful strikes confirmed by CENTCOM [US Central Command] tells you that our over-the-horizon capacity works and is working,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
CENTCOM initially said Sunday’s drone strike destroyed a vehicle carrying “multiple suicide bombers.” After the reports of civilian casualties surfaced, CENTCOM released a statement that it was “aware” of those reports and is investigating further.
Relatives and friends of the victims of the US drone strike said a missile hit a car that contained a father and his children. They also strongly rejected the idea that any of the dead were affiliated with ISIS. “We are not ISIS or Daesh and this was a family home — where my brothers lived with their families,” the brother of a victim said.
When asked about the slaughter, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby conceded that the US was “not in a position to dispute” the account of the witnesses.
Psaki boasted that President Biden gave military commanders the green light for airstrikes after the airport attack. “I can tell you that the president has made clear to his commanders that they should stop at nothing to make ISIS pay for the deaths of those American service members at the Kabul airport,” she said.
Psaki claimed the airstrikes were “self-defense” and said they were meant to kill “ISIS terrorists.” When asked about the reports of civilian casualties, Psaki said, “I can’t speak to or confirm the numbers or cases of civilian casualties in this case. There is an investigation.”