OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Joe Biden’s administration is taking fire now from its own side after conducting a strike that killed an innocent Afghan aid work and nine others, including seven children.
California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff has called for a full investigation into how such a tragic mistake could happen in a press release from the House Intelligence Committee.
“We must take every precaution when it comes to protecting civilian lives, and hold ourselves accountable when we fail. While there is no overstating the chaotic and dangerous situation in Kabul following the fall of the Afghan government and the attack on our forces by ISIS-K, it is clear that the August 29 strike was a mistake with horrific consequences,” he said.
“In acknowledging that error, the Department of Defense has taken the first step towards transparency and accountability. And after such a devastating failure – one that, by the Department’s estimate, killed 10 civilians, at least 7 of them children – it cannot be the last step. We need to know what went wrong in the hours and minutes leading up to the strike to prevent similar tragedies in the future,” The representative said.
“I am also concerned about the accuracy and completeness of public statements made in the immediate aftermath of the strike, and whether those accounted for all of the information possessed by the government at the time. We must assure that the Department examines its actions carefully and objectively, even in the absence of press reports, such as here, which brought this critical mistake to light.
“This is an area deserving of additional oversight, and along with my colleagues in Congress, the House Intelligence Committee will continue to press for answers,” he said. “My prayers today are with the victims and their families.”
Schiff’s statement came after Chief of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), Gen. Frank McKenzie admitted that the strike as a “tragic mistake.”
“Having thoroughly reviewed the findings of the investigation and the supporting analysis by inner agency partners, I am now convinced that as many as 10 civilians including up to seven children we tragically killed in that strike,” he said.
“Moreover, we now assess that it is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died were associated with ISIS-K or were a direct threat to U.S. forces. I offer my profound condolences to the family and friends of those who were killed. This strike was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport,” the general said.
He took responsibility for the strike and gave an explanation as to the assessments that were made before conducting the strike but then admitted that they failed.
“Our investigation now concludes that the strike was a tragic mistake,” he said.
One of the statements made after the attack that Schiff could be talking about was the one from Biden in which he brags about the strike and said there would be more.
“I said we would go after the group responsible for the attack on our troops and innocent civilians in Kabul, and we have,” he said. “This strike was not the last. We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay.”
“This strike was not the last. We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay,” he said. “Our commanders informed me that an attack is highly likely in the next 24-36 hours. I directed them to take every possible measure to prioritize force protection.”
But, so far, no ISIS-K fighters have faced consequences for their strike on the Kabul airport that killed United States military members and Afghan civilians.