Pentagon affirms that no military personnel will face punishment for the botched Kabul drone attack, which killed 10 civilians rather than ISIS-K suicide bombers

  • Pentagon said Friday that officers would not be subject to any action in the event of a botched drone strike
  • A Hellfire missile killed 10 civilians, including seven children, on August 29 
  • Officials originally stated it was targeting a vehicle used by suicide bombers
  • The senior officers claimed it was a “righteous strike” before the truth became known
  • John Kirby, Pentagon spokesperson, said the incident was caused by a breakdown in the execution process and not negligence.

According to the Pentagon, Monday’s statement stated that military personnel who were involved in the failed drone strike in Kabul that resulted in 10 deaths in civilians was not being pursued. The incident occurred as American forces retreated from Kabul in August.

When a Hellfire missile struck a saloon vehicle mistakenly believed to be packed with explosives, seven children died.

Three days ago, the United States was on edge after an ISIS K suicide bomber attacked Hamid Karzai International Airport and killed 170 Afghans as well as 13 American service personnel.

John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, said that senior commanders have made recommendations to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. However none of them included any obligation to hold officers accountable. 

He said, “What we saw was a breakdown and execution in procedural activities, not due to negligence not the consequence of misconduct not the result from poor leadership.”

An independent military investigation, led by the Air Force inspector general, concluded last month that there was no evidence of criminal negligence.

10 civilians were killed when a U.S. drone strike mistakenly targeted a car driven by an Afghan employee of an American charity but no U.S. military personnel will be held accountable

A U.S. drone attack mistakenly struck a car owned by an Afghan charity worker. Ten civilians were injured. No U.S. military personnel is being held responsible.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the mistake was a 'breakdown in process and execution in procedural events, not the result of negligence, not the result of misconduct'

John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson, stated that the error was due to a “breakdown in procedure and execution in procedural activities, not negligence or misconduct.”

Kirby said Defense Secretary acted on the recommendations he was given - but they covered processes rather than personnel

Kirby claimed that Defense Secretary took action on the suggestions he received – however, they were for processes and not personnel

This left it up to Gen. Frank McKenzie and Gen. Richard Clarke to decide if disciplinary action is appropriate.

Kirby stated that the recommendations were more about process and procedure, and she reviewed them and accepted them. 

“And again they are all classified. But, there were no explicit recommendations made by either side regarding any accountability or punishment.

Officials authorized the attack on members of the Islamic State local affiliate. 

Officials claimed in the immediate aftermath that secondary explosions revealed that the vehicle was loaded with explosives. It was called a “righteous strike.”

The New York Times investigation revealed that the Toyota Corolla white was actually driven by Zemari Ahmadi. He is an Afghan worker of an American aid agency who visited not ISIS-K’s safe houses but rather a NGO compound.

It was not filled with explosives but with water tanks.  

Ten civilians - including seven children - dried when a Hellfire missile hit a vehicle in Kabul

 Ten civilians – including seven children – dried when a Hellfire missile hit a vehicle in Kabul

In September, Defense Department admitted that they had made a tragic mistake.  

Kirby, during the press conference, stated the importance of the elevated risk for attack at Kabul Airport.

He stated that ‘This was an extremely dynamic situation and we believed we were facing a real threat to both our people as well as the Afghans at airport’.

Critics of the strike were horrified by the outcome. They said that it was sensible to admit the error but not hold any one responsible.  

‘This decision is shocking,’ Steven Kwon, the founder of Nutrition & Education International that employed Ahmadi, told the New York Times. 

“How could our military take 10 innocent Afghan lives and not hold anyone accountable?”

The Department of Defense has previously said it will offer condolence payments to the relatives of the people killed and was also working with the State Department to help surviving family members relocate to the United States.