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Secretary of Defense 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 who lead the military’s central and special operations command to decide , probably in the next few weeks, whether someone should be disciplined or reprimanded for the strike.
In describing his investigation last week, General Said said surveillance videos showed at least one child in the area about two minutes before the military drone attack. But the general also said that real-time footage was easy to miss.
In the subsequent interview, General Said provided additional details, saying that surveillance videos showed the presence of four adults and two children – the largest number of people captured on video prior to the attack – nine seconds before the military launched the missile. According to General Said, this group of people – in addition to Mr Ahmadi and his cousin, whom analysts had clearly seen before the start of the strike – would also have been easy to overlook.
Separately, three U.S. officials said Monday that the CIA alerted the military to the presence of a child at the scene of the attack on Aug. 29, but military officials said the warning came too late – after the missile was shot down.
Understanding the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan
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Who are the Taliban? The Taliban emerged in 1994 amid the unrest following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989. They used brutal public punishments, including flogging, amputation and mass executions, to enforce their rules. Here is more about their genesis and track record as rulers.
Who are the Taliban leaders? These are the top leaders of the Taliban, men who for years have been on the run, in hiding, in prison and dodged American drones. Little is known about them or how they plan to govern, including whether they will be as tolerant as they say they are. A spokesman told the Times that the group wanted to forget their past, but there were some restrictions.
General Said and other senior military officials, including General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the head of Central Command, have attempted to put the drone attack in current context, with American officials on heightened alert after an alert three days earlier came in a suicide bombing around 170 civilians and 13 US soldiers died at Kabul airport.
The military’s first mistake was mistakenly identifying a single family home as an Islamic State safe house. “In the 48 hours prior to the attack, sensitive information indicated that the area at point # 1 on the map was being used by ISIS-K planners to facilitate future attacks,” General McKenzie told reporters at his briefing on Nov. September, based on a subsidiary of the Islamic State.
Another recurring aspect of the intelligence agency, General McKenzie said, is that ISIS would use a white Toyota Corolla as a key element in the next attack on American troops at the airport.