Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III endorsed General Said’s findings and recommendations, Pentagon chief spokesman John F. Kirby said last week, leaving it to the four-star generals in command of the military’s central and special operations command. probably in the next few weeks, should anyone be punished or blamed for the strike.
Describing his investigation, General Said said last week that surveillance videos showed at least one child in the area about two minutes before the military launched the drone strike. But the general also said real-time footage would be easy to miss.
In a subsequent interview, General Said provided further details, saying that nine seconds before military operators fired the missile, surveillance video showed the presence of four adults and two children – the largest number of people videotaped before the strike. General Said said that this group of people – in addition to Mr. Ahmadi and his cousin, whom analysts could clearly see before the strike – would also be easy to miss.
In addition, three US officials said Monday that the CIA had warned the military about the presence of a child at the site of the August 29 strike, but the military said the warning came too late – after the missile was launched.
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General Saeed and other senior military officials, including General Kenneth F. Mackenzie, Jr., head of Central Command, tried to put the drone strike in context when US officials were on high alert following the suicide bombing of Kabul airport by three days earlier, about 170 civilians and 13 US military personnel were killed.
The military’s first mistake was to misidentify the family home as an Islamic State refuge. “In the 48 hours before the strike, secret intelligence revealed that the compound at Point 1 on the map was being used by ISIS-K planners to facilitate future attacks,” General Mackenzie told reporters at a September 17 briefing. , referring to the branch of the Islamic State.
General Mackenzie said another recurring aspect of intelligence was that ISIS would use a white Toyota Corolla as a key element in its next attack on American troops at the airport.