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Afghanistan: US Army Relieves Soldiers After Drone Attack On Children

At the end of August, a US drone killed ten civilians, seven of them children, in Kabul. The military speaks of a tragic mistake. Those responsible go unpunished.

A US drone attack that killed ten civilians in the Afghan capital Kabul at the end of August has no legal consequences for the soldiers responsible. According to his spokesman, the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin approved a report by the army command on the attack, in which no disciplinary measures are recommended against the soldiers responsible.

What we saw was a breakdown in process, execution and procedures 

spokesman John Kirby told journalists. 

It was not the result of negligence, it was not the result of misconduct, it was not the result of poor leadership 

In the US drone attack on a car in Kabul on August 29, ten people were killed, including the long-time employee of an American aid organization and nine of his family members - seven of them children.

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According to official information, the US armed forces had misjudged the situation. They had therefore assumed that the Islamic State (IS) jihadist militia was planning an explosive attack on Kabul airport with the vehicle. A few days earlier, in the midst of the chaotic evacuation mission following the takeover of power by the radical Islamic Taliban, there had already been a fatal attack. 

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In mid-September, the US armed forces admitted that they had not killed IS terrorists, but civilians. The chief of the central command of the US armed forces, General Kenneth McKenzie, spoke of a "tragic mistake". Compensation was offered to the bereaved and they were offered to leave the country for the United States.

After an independent review of the incident, the US Air Force Inspector General, General Kenneth McKenzie, concluded in early November that the drone attack did not constitute a violation of martial law. Rather, there were mishaps in communication as well as in identifying and confirming the target of the attack. The attack was a "tragic mistake", but misconduct or negligence were not the cause.

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General McKenzie and the Chief of Special Operations Command, General Richard Clarke, then made a number of recommendations on future drone attacks based on the Inspector General's report. However, they recommended that those responsible for the August 29 attack should not be sanctioned.

McKenzie said in October that the armed forces acted with the firm belief that the attacked vehicle posed a threat to US soldiers and people waiting to leave the Kabul airport.

Secretary of Defense Austin apologized for the drone attack and offered condolences to family members.

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