Pentagon Releases First Footage of Botched Kabul Airstrike

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
January 20, 2022 Updated: January 20, 2022

Department of Defense officials have made public for the first time footage of an Aug. 29, 2021, airstrike that left 10 civilians dead in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Military officials initially defended the strike as having targeted a member of the ISIS terrorist group after the group was accused of having attacked the U.S.-held Kabul airport with suicide bombers, killing 13 American troops and more than 100 Afghan nationals.

However, they later said a review found the target, aid worker Ezmarai Ahmadi, wasn’t involved with the group.

The footage was captured by drones hovering over Ahmadi’s home before launching the strike.

The footage includes the aftermath of the explosion, which destroyed a vehicle in the home’s driveway.

U.S. Gen. Frank McKenzie, commander of the U.S. Central Command, apologized for the botched strike last year, saying it “was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport.”

Epoch Times Photo
Boys inspect wreckage from a drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sept. 18, 2021. (Hoshang Hashimi/AFP via Getty Images)
Epoch Times Photo
A relative of Ezmarai Ahmadi stands next to a vehicle that was damaged on Aug. 29 in a U.S. drone strike that killed Ahmadi, seven children, and two other adults in the Kwaja Burga neighborhood of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sept. 18, 2021. (Hoshang Hashimi /AFP via Getty Images)

Officials told Congress that they learned within hours that innocent people had been killed, contradicting earlier statements that said there were no indications of civilian casualties.

U.S. officials later offered to pay and relocate relatives of those killed, all of whom were identified as being related to Ahmadi. Officials also declined to discipline anyone over the strike, a review of which found no war crimes.

Under the direction of President Joe Biden, the U.S. military exited Afghanistan following a 20-year war, completing the withdrawal in August of 2021.

The tumultuous operation concluded with hundreds of U.S. citizens and green card holders still in the country and the Taliban terrorist group in control after they routed U.S.-backed Afghan forces.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.