US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin apologized Friday for a drone strike in the Afghan capital Kabul that mistakenly killed 10 civilians, including children, during the chaotic US pullout last month.
“I offer my deepest condolences to surviving family members of those who were killed,” Austin said in a statement.
“We apologize, and we will endeavor to learn from this horrible mistake,” he said.
The attack was launched on August 29 as the US and its allies rushed to evacuate from Kabul. The US military initially claimed that they had thwarted an ISIS-K (Daesh Khorasan) attack on the Kabul airport.
However, locals rejected that claim and the US newspapers Washington Post and the New York Times confirmed that those killed included an engineer working with Afghan forces and at least seven children.
The US military finally admitted that civilians were killed in the attack.
“Having thoroughly reviewed the findings of the investigation and the supporting analysis by interagency partners, I am now convinced that as many as 10 civilians, including up to seven children, were tragically killed in that strike,” General Frank McKenzie, the head of the US Central Command, said before Austin made the apology.