SecDef Austin Orders Review of Kabul Drone Strike That Killed 10 Civilians

The Air Force's inspector general will lead the investigation

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has ordered the Air Force to review the August 29th drone strike in Kabul that killed 10 civilians, including seven children. The Pentagon initially claimed the strike targeted ISIS-K, but it was forced to admit the strike only killed civilians due to media scrutiny.

Leading the investigation will be Lt. Gen. Sami Said, the Air Force’s inspector general. Said will have 45 days from his appointment to complete the investigation, an Air Force spokesperson told Military Times.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said part of the investigation would be to “take a look at what levels of accountability might be appropriate.” So far, there has been no discipline over the massacre.

The drone strike targeted 43-year-old Zemari Ahmadi, an aid worker employed by a US-based NGO, killing him and nine of his family members. In the wake of the bombing, it became clear that civilians were killed. But Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley described the strike as “righteous,” and the White House said it was “successful.”

It wasn’t until after The New York Times used local security footage and eyewitness testimony to show Ahmadi was not an ISIS member that US Central Command admitted the drone strike killed 10 civilians and no ISIS fighters.

The slaughter of the Ahmadi family is typical of US drone strikes. In 2015, documents leaked by whistleblower Daniel Hale revealed that during a five-month period between 2012 and 2013, 90 percent of the people killed by US drones were civilians. Hale was recently sentenced to 45 months in prison for leaking the documents.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.