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September 21, 2021

US to conduct fresh review of Kabul drone strike investigation

A three-stars or higher ranked military officer will review the previous Centcom investigation on the Kabul drone strike last month.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has ordered a review of the previous investigation regarding the drone airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan, last month.

The move comes days after the previous investigation by the US Central Command (Centcom) concluded that the strike killed ten Afghan civilians instead of eliminating ISIS-K planners.

In a statement, DoD said that US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III has asked Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall to appoint a three-stars or higher ranked military officer to review the Centcom investigation.

The review will be completed in 45 days. The reviewing officer will examine the investigation and is expected to provide necessary recommendations. The review report may also recommend disciplinary action against those involved if warranted.

Pentagon Press Secretary John F Kirby said: “Part of that review will be to examine the investigation itself, the thoroughness of the investigation, to study the degree to which any policies, procedures or targeting mechanisms may need to be altered going forward, if any, and of course to then take a look at what levels of accountability might be appropriate and if so at what level.”

Last month, the US conducted a targeted drone strike against an extremist who was apparently planning future attacks when the allied forces were in the final stages of their evacuation from Afghanistan.

At that time, Centcom said that the target was killed in the attack and there were no civilian casualties.

However, last week, the US said that the strike killed as many as ten civilians, including up to seven children and apologised for the ‘tragic mistake’.

The US DoD is currently looking to provide ex gratia payments to the family members of the victims.

Some of the family members have reportedly expressed an interest to move to the US. Kirby said that Centcom is looking into the issue.

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