Air Force review of Kabul strike that killed 10 civilians finds significant errors were made but law wasn’t broken
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Air Force review of Kabul strike that killed 10 civilians finds significant errors were made but law wasn’t broken

A US Air Force investigation into a US drone strike in Kabul that killed ten civilians at the end of August found that though “execution errors” were made, the law was not broken.

“The investigation found no violation of law including the law of war. We did find execution errors … combined with confirmation bias and communication breakdowns that regrettably led to civilian casualties,” Air Force Inspector General Sami Said stated during a news briefing on Wednesday.

The report outlining the investigation’s findings is classified but Said did list three main recommendations from it.

He suggested improvements could be made to the “implementing procedure” before a strike is carried out. Said explained there had been a computer bag in the Toyoto Corolla that was struck that service members wrongly assumed contained explosives. They made the assumption because in the terrorist attack days earlier that had killed 13 US service members and dozens of Afghans outside Kabul airport, the bomber had carried a computer bag.

Said also recommended improving intelligence sharing.

“The second recommendation is enhancing situational awareness by sharing information that’s very thoroughly shared … within the confines of that strike cell, and within a bubble within that strike cell, but sharing that situational awareness and analysis more broadly, across the strike cell but also outside,” he said.

CNN previously reported that the CIA had issued a warning, saying there were civilians in the area.

Said also recommended improving the processes for assessing whether civilians are present before a strike is carried out.

“Regrettably, the interpretation or the correlation of the intelligence to what was being perceived at the time in real time was inaccurate,” he said. “In fact the vehicle, its occupants and its content did not pose any risk to US forces.”

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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