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Yesterday, senior defense officials concluded there was no misconduct among U.S. military personnel who conducted a drone strike on August 29 in Kabul that killed 10 civilians.

Responding to this news, Daphne Eviatar, Director of Security with Human Rights at Amnesty International USA, said:

“’Mistakes were made’ is insufficient. This is an old story from the United States military, with horrific consequences for civilians. There’s no question that there are substantial, consistent, and historical issues that have gone unaddressed by U.S. military leadership regarding U.S. military procedure, how intelligence is analyzed, and how it approaches the context of operational zones. The IG recommends that the Pentagon improve its procedures to ensure civilians are not present before launching time-sensitive strikes. This should apply as much to Afghanistan as it does to U.S. military operations in Syria and Somalia, where we have repeatedly seen civilian casualties despite years of warnings, recommendations, and investigations. We hope this leads to real, tangible change. Current investigations do not involve witness or survivor interviews and rarely include visits to strike sites, so the U.S. collects limited information which leads to insufficient learning and ultimately business as usual.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has emphasized its ability to conduct “over the horizon” drone strikes, which it claims are necessary. But “over the horizon” just means little or no U.S. presence in those countries and intelligence will therefore be much more limited than it was for this strike in Afghanistan. Because of this policy, we fear this will be far from the last time we’ll be making this statement. Civilians should not pay the price for such a policy.”

Contact: Gabby Arias, [email protected]