General Kenneth Franklin McKenzie Jr, head of the US Central Command, said it was “unlikely” that the vehicle targeted on August 29 – or those that died – were associated with ISIS-K or pose a direct threat to them. American forces.
“This strike was carried out with the conviction that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport,” he said. “But it was a mistake and I offer my sincere apologies.
“As commander of the combatants, I am fully responsible for this strike and this tragic outcome. “
He offered his “deep condolences” to the families and friends of those who were killed.
“The strike was a tragic mistake,” he told a press conference.
For days after the strike, Pentagon officials insisted it was carried out directly, despite reports that the driver of the targeted car was a long-time employee of a US aid organization.
General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters two days after the attack that it appeared to be a “fair” strike and that at least one of the people killed was a “facilitator” for ISIS-K – the Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State group.
The strike follows ISIS-K’s suicide bombing attack at Kabul airport, which killed 169 Afghan civilians and 13 US soldiers.
General Milley has since backed down, saying: “This is a horrible tragedy of war and it is heartbreaking.
The Associated Press reported that the driver of the vehicle was Zemerai Ahmadi, 37, who was killed along with eight of his children and one of his cousins.
Mr. Ahmadi had stopped at his home, where he honked his horn and his 11-year-old son came out, according to the family.
The child would then get into the car and Mr. Ahmadi let him drive her down the driveway while the other young people came out to watch.
It was then that the Hellfire missile struck the Toyota vehicle.