U.S. Central Command chief takes full responsibility for attack killing 10 Afghan civilians

Wang Xinjuan
2021-09-29 09:39:15
Relatives and neighbors of the Ahmadis gather around the incinerated husk of a vehicle targeted and hit by an American drone strike that killed 10 people including children, in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 30, 2021. /CFP

Commander of the U.S. Central Command Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said Tuesday he took full responsibility for the August 29 drone strike in Kabul that killed 10 civilians.

"We acted based on the intelligence read that we saw on the ground. We acted several times on intelligence that we saw, and we were successful in other occasions in preventing attacks," he told a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. "This time, tragically, we were wrong."

The U.S. admitted in mid-September that a drone strike in late August in Kabul of Afghanistan killed as many as 10 civilians, including 7 children.

McKenzie said the strike was "a tragic mistake" and he as a commander took full responsibility.

The U.S. initially claimed the strike had eliminated an "imminent" threat posed by ISIS-K, an Afghanistan-based offshoot of the Islamic State, to Kabul International Airport, where evacuations of U.S. service members and personnel were underway.

The Taliban has controlled the airport and most parts of Afghanistan since September.

General Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff who also attended Tuesday's Senate hearing, said it was a "strategic failure" that put the Taliban back in power.

Both Milley and McKenzie said they believed the U.S. should maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan and feared a quick drawdown from the country could lead to a collapse of the Afghan government and military.

But U.S. President Joe Biden has said last month that no military officials advised him to keep troops in Afghanistan after the withdrawal deadline.

(With input from Xinhua)


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