Thu. May 19th, 2022

The surveillance is the first to be made public and shows the strike that killed 10 civilians, including seven children.

The Pentagon has for the first time drone footage of a failed strike in Kabul who killed 10 members of a family, including seven children, amid the chaotic American withdrawal from the country.

The footage was initially obtained through a lawsuit filed by The New York Times under a Freedom of Information Act and was subsequently released Thursday by the U.S. Central Command. It seems to underline how, by the Pentagon’s own account, limited intelligence, an increased alert state and hasty decision-making led to the deaths of civilians.

The hazy footage, which officials told the newspaper was picked up by two MQ-9 Reaper drones, shows the moments before the fatal drone attack on a car in a courtyard in Kabul on August 29.

One segment of footage apparently shows a shorter, blurry figure in white next to a longer figure in black in the courtyard while the targeted car drives back to park, according to the analysis by the Times.

While footage also shows figures moving around the courtyard in the minutes before the strike – and one person opens the passenger door to the targeted car – the Times notes the heights of the figures cannot be determined from the murky footage.

A flash of fire indicates the moment of the strike and people can be seen running in the aftermath.

The US Army initially assisted the attack, which they say targeted an Islamic State official in Khorasan province (ISIS-K) who was planning a looming attack on Kabul international airport, where desperate Afghans continued to gather in the last days of a mad evacuation by US and other foreign troops after the Taliban captured the city weeks earlier.

The attack came three days after an ISIS-K suicide bombing at the airport killed more than 160 Afghans and 13 US troops.

In November, the Pentagon admitted he had made a tragic mistake and said it had determined that the man who was driving the car, Zemari Ahmadi, had nothing to do with ISIS-K and rather for Nutrition and Education International, a aid organization based in the US worked. The strike killed nine of Ahmadi’s family.

The department later announced no one will be held personally responsible for the strike.

Military officials also acknowledged in November that surveillance video showed at least one child present in the area just two minutes before the strike.

The Air Force’s Inspector General, Lieutenant General Sami Said, said while “physical evidence” of a child was “clear” in two independent reviews of supervision, “it is not 100 percent obvious. You have to look for it.”

He cited “confirmation bias” that led to a series of assumptions and the deadly strike, which he described as an “honest mistake” and not “negligence”.

“That assessment was driven primarily by interpretation,” he said. “Unfortunately, the interpretation assessment was inaccurate.”

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