No U.S. Troops Disciplined in Air Strike that Killed Civilians
No U.S. troops will face disciplinary action over their involvement in the August drone strike that killed innocent Kabul civilians, including children.
Chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved recommendations in strike operations based on the findings of an independent Pentagon review released in November. The review didn’t include any recommendations for discipline, Kirby said.
The review found communication breakdowns in the process of identifying and confirming the strike’s target, which killed 10 civilians, including seven children. Air Force Lt. Gen. Sami Said concluded the incident was a tragic mistake, not caused by misconduct or negligence.
“We know that there will be some who don’t like this particular decision, but it wasn’t an outcome that we came to without careful thought and consideration,” Kirby said.
He added that if Austin “believed that accountability was warranted and needed, he would certainly support those kinds of efforts.”
The August 29 drone strike killed Zemerai Ahmadi and nine family members. The 37-year-old was a longtime employee of an American humanitarian organization, Nutrition & Education International.
Steven Kwon, the organization’s founder, called the decision shocking.
“How can our military wrongly take the lives of ten precious Afghan people, and hold no one accountable in any way?” he said. “When the Pentagon absolves itself of accountability, it sends a dangerous and misleading message that its actions were somehow justified.”
The Associated Press reported that the U.S. is working to pay financial restitution to the surviving family members and potentially get them out of Afghanistan.