A Pentagon review of the August 29th Kabul drone strike that killed 10 civilians, including seven children, concluded that the slaughter was not a result of “misconduct or negligence” and recommended no disciplinary action, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.
The review was done by Air Force Inspector General Lt. Gen. Sami Said. According to AP, the Pentagon decided Said could be an “independent judge” on the matter because he had no connection to Afghanistan operations.
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. US officials initially claimed the strike targeted ISIS-K and maintained that narrative even as evidence mounted that only civilians were killed.
The White House described the strike as “successful,” and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said it was “righteous.” But after an investigation from The New York Times proved the drone strike killed Ahmadi and his family, the Pentagon was forced to admit the truth.
Said’s review claims that US forces “genuinely believed” they were taking out a target that was an “imminent threat” to the US evacuation effort at the Kabul airport. The strike was carried out just a few days after an ISIS-K suicide bomber killed over 100 Afghans and 13 US troops at the airport.
According to Said, surveillance footage of the area the US bombed showed the presence of at least one child two minutes before the drone strike was launched. Despite this fact, Said still did not recommend disciplinary action. “I didn’t find violations of law or of the law of war,” he said at a press conference.
The Pentagon and US media have portrayed the incident as a “mistake,” but 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.