When a Hellfire missile was launched on Aug. 29 at a target in Kabul — a parked car suspected of storing explosives for use in a suicide bombing — US military authorities claimed they were certain the driver and another guy at the area had suspected terrorist links and were the only persons present.
It took the missile roughly a half minute to reach the white car. According to a senior US military source speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing military inquiry, three youngsters approached the automobile immediately before it was destroyed at the time. The children were murdered, according to the official, while victims' families reported that another seven individuals were killed in the strike, including the driver and the second man.
According to the initial description of the drone strike provided by the US Central Command in a statement, the operation targeted a vehicle linked to the Islamic State-Khorasan and resulted in “significant secondary explosions” from the vehicle, indicating a “substantial amount of explosive material.”
According to the Washington Post, when it spoke with specialists, including a physicist and former bomb technicians, as well as the NGO that hired the driver targeted in the operation, and supplied photos of the damage inflicted by the attack and US military evaluations of the operation. Their findings indicate that there is no proof that the automobile had explosives; two experts stated evidence pointed to an igniting of gasoline tank vapors as the possible source of the second blast.
The driver's company, a California-based organization, stated that his moves throughout the city were part of his job and that the military may have misconstrued what he was doing as he went from place to place and put goods into the car.
The experts emphasized that their analysis is based on images and video obtained by The Washington Post, witness testimonies, and limited information supplied by the Pentagon; several experts speculated that the truck may have held a tiny number of explosives.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, defended the operation, calling it a "righteous strike" that thwarted an Islamic State affiliate's planned attack in Afghanistan just days after the group killed 13 US service members and more than 170 Afghans in a suicide bombing at a Kabul international airport gate.
“Were there others killed? Yes, there are others killed,” Milley said a few days afterward. “Who they are, we don’t know.”
The United States Central Command, which is conducting an inquiry into the strike, did not respond to analyst queries.
According to the senior military officer, the vehicle was monitored for nearly eight hours, beginning on the morning of Aug. 29. Military experts had zeroed in on a structure they suspected was an ISIS-K safe house related to the prior suicide strike on the airport entrance. The vehicle departed that site shortly after 9 a.m., stopping along the route to pick up and drop off other people.
Several guys placed more than ten items into the car about an hour before the hit, which seemed to be hefty and handled “gently,” according to a military officer. Intercepted conversations between suspected militants indicated that the automobile would collide with a motorcycle soon before the driver of the white sedan did, according to the official.
According to military sources, the United States had solid intelligence pointing to a possible second attack on the airport and suspected the vehicle would be used for that reason. They said they chose to hit the car after it pulled into the courtyard because they had "reasonable confidence" that civilians would be harmed.
Despite Milley's conviction that the hit was lawful, military officials believe their investigation into the incident is not yet complete. According to the senior military source, the residence where the parked car was targeted — approximately four miles from the airport — was previously unknown to military and intelligence experts.
“The quick-look analysis … said that it is likely there was some degree of explosives in the vehicle,” the official said, describing a confidence level of more than 50 percent after an initial review.
“But ‘likely’ doesn’t ‘mean for sure,’” the official said. The Defense Department declined to publicly release video of the strike, citing the ongoing investigation.
with The Washington Post