Was It a U.S. Drone or an ISIS Attack That Killed 3 Adults and 7 Children Outside Kabul?
U.S. military officials said Sunday that they had launched a drone strike destroying a car full of explosives and killing ISIS-K suicide bombers headed toward the international airport in Kabul. Also on Sunday, a family living in Khwaja Burgha, a neighborhood west of Kabul, said a drone missile struck the car of Ezmari Ahmadi, a civilian working with a food charity, in his driveway, killing him, two other adults, and seven children.
One of the dead, The New York Times reports, was a contractor who assisted the U.S. military during the war and came to Kabul in the hopes of being evacuated from the country.
Were there two drone strikes? Was U.S Central Command spokesman Bill Urban mistaken when he declared his confidence that the U.S. had “successfully hit the target” and that “significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material”? Was the family mistaken about the origin of the explosive that killed Ahmadi and the children? The Los Angeles Times was able to send two journalists to see the wreckage, where they determined that the blast was consistent with a missile strike of some sort but could not conclude more than that.
Urban has now put out a statement that the Pentagon is now investigating these reports of civilians killed, neither confirming nor denying that a U.S. strike might be responsible. “We would be deeply saddened by any potential loss of life,” he said.
We don’t have answers as yet, and it’s not clear when, or if, we’ll get them. But it says a lot about the many problems of America’s war in Afghanistan—and in other countries—that we cannot automatically determine whether Ahmadi was struck by one our drones or by the other side.
Over the past 20 years, the U.S. has launched more than 13,000 dro
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