Amnesty urges 'real accountability' over US Kabul strike

'Real accountability' must follow US admission on Kabul strike: Amnesty
2 min read
18 September, 2021
The human rights group called for a 'transparent and impartial investigation into this incident' and said that those 'suspected of criminal responsibility should be prosecuted in a fair trial.'
The US admitted that the strike killed 10 civilians, including seven children [Getty]

Amnesty International has urged "real accountability" over the US military's drone strike in Kabul last month, which the Pentagon admitted on Friday had killed 10 civilians, including at least seven children.

The strike, which was touted by Washington as targeting an Islamic State group member, killed an Afghan aid worker and his family members.

"This admission is an important step towards accountability for the killings in Kabul, but much more remains to be done," said Brian Castner, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Adviser, in a statement on Friday.

"The US must now commit to a full, transparent and impartial investigation into this incident," Castner continued, adding that those "suspected of criminal responsibility should be prosecuted in a fair trial."

On Friday, head of US Central Command General Frank McKenzie formally recognised the civilian casualties in a statement to reporters.

infographic - Civilian casualties of US airstrikes since 9-11
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"At the time of the strike, I was confident that the strike had averted an imminent threat to our forces at the airport," Gen. McKenzie said. "Our investigation now concludes that the strike was a tragic mistake."

He said he now believed it unlikely that those who died were Islamic State militants or posed a direct threat to US forces. The Pentagon was considering reparations for the civilians killed, McKenzie said.

In its statement on Friday, Amnesty slammed Washington's apparent hesitance in issuing the statement.

“It should be noted that the US military was only forced to admit to its failure in this strike because of the current global scrutiny on Afghanistan," Castner said.

“Many similar strikes in Syria, Iraq and Somalia have happened out of the spotlight, and the US continues to deny responsibility while devastated families suffer in silence."

Earlier this month, a New York Times report named the victims of the drone strike as Afghan aid worker Zemari Ahmadi and nine other members of his family, including seven children.

US missiles struck his car outside his home in Kabul, according to the newspaper.