WASHINGTON, September 18. /TASS/. The United States apologizes for the US drone strike in Kabul on August 29 and will try to learn lessons from this "horrible mistake," US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
An investigation into the incident concluded that the strike "resulted in the deaths of as many as 10 people, including up to seven children," he said.
"We apologize, and we will endeavor to learn from this horrible mistake," the US secretary of defense continued. "To that end, I have directed a thorough review of the investigation just completed by U.S. Central Command."
"I have asked for this review to consider the degree to which the investigation considered all available context and information, the degree to which accountability measures need be taken and at what level, and the degree to which strike authorities, procedures and processes need to be altered in the future," he said.
According to the US official, the strike was "conducted to prevent what was believed to be an imminent threat to Hamid Karzai International Airport." Among those killed was 43-year-old Zemari Akhmadi, who worked as an engineer for California-based and Education International (NEI) charity organization since 2006.
"We now know that there was no connection between Mr. Ahmadi and ISIS-Khorasan, that his activities on that day were completely harmless and not at all related to the imminent threat we believed we faced, and that Mr. Ahmadi was just as innocent a victim as were the others tragically killed," Austin said.
According to initial information from the US military, a US drone eliminated a vehicle packed with explosives in Kabul on August 29. Militants from the terrorist group Islamic State in Khorasan, a branch of the Islamic State extremist organization (outlawed in Russia), were going to use it to stage a terrorist attack, the US side said. The US drone reportedly destroyed two vehicles and partially ruined a house. UNICEF Afghanistan Representative, Herve Ludovic De Lys said seven children were killed.
At first, the US Department of Defense said it has no information about civilian casualties, but later reported that it would verify the information.
According to a New York Times report published September 10, US servicemen have presumably made a mistake while choosing the target of its airstrike on Kabul. The paper’s sources strongly rejected Ahmadi’s ties with terrorists, because he expected to receive an asylum in the United States. The paper believes that in-depth video analysis and interviews at the site "cast doubt" on the official version of the incident.