Pentagon says, OK we may have Hellfire’d a bunch of kids in Kabul

| September 17, 2021

File this update under “Oops!” After the New York Times investigated just who was killed in the drone strike in Kabul just before US forces left Afghanistan, the Pentagon has now reversed course. They initially celebrated and then defended the strike, even after the NYT reporting. They cited reasons why they conducted the strike (ostensibly against an ISIS-K bomb maker/driver) and supporting evidence that reinforced that belief (secondary explosions). They now admit that they likely kid as many as 10 people including 7 children when they bombed the vehicle arriving at the driver’s home in a crowded Kabul neighborhood.

Jeff LPH 3 sends in this Military Times article;

When officials signed off Aug. 29 on a Hellfire strike to obliterate a white Toyota they had been monitoring for eight hours, the belief was that it contained ISIS fighters carrying a bomb intended for U.S. troops outside the Kabul airport. The head of U.S. Central Command announced Friday that they were very wrong.

Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie concurred with previous media reports that the strike had killed as many as 10 people, including seven children.

“This strike was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport, but it was a mistake,” he said, confirming that no ISIS fighters are believed to have been killed in the attack.

For days after the strike, Pentagon officials asserted that it had been conducted correctly, despite numerous civilians being killed, including children. The New York Times later raised doubts about that version of events, reporting that the driver of the targeted vehicle was a longtime employee at an American humanitarian organization and citing an absence of evidence to support the Pentagon’s assertion that the vehicle contained explosives.

Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters two days after the attack that it appeared to have been a “righteous” strike and that at least one of the people killed was a “facilitator” for the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate, which had killed 169 Afghan civilians and 13 American service members in a suicide bombing on Aug. 26 at the Kabul airport.

After McKenzie’s remarks, Milley expressed regret.

“This is a horrible tragedy of war and it’s heart wrenching,” Milley told reporters traveling with him in Europe. “We are committed to being fully transparent about this incident.”

“In a dynamic high-threat environment, the commanders on the ground had appropriate authority and had reasonable certainty that the target was valid, but after deeper post-strike analysis our conclusion is that innocent civilians were killed,” Milley added.

Accounts from the family, documents from colleagues seen by The Associated Press, and the scene at the family home — where Zemerai Ahmadi’s car was struck by a Hellfire missile just as he pulled into the driveway — all painted a picture of a family that had worked for Americans and were trying to gain visas to the United States, fearing for their lives under the Taliban.

The family said that when the 37-year-old Zemerai, alone in his car, pulled up to the house, he honked his horn. His 11-year-old son ran out and Zemerai let the boy get in and drive the car into the driveway. The other kids ran out to watch, and the missile incinerated the car, killing seven children and an adult son and nephew of Zemerai.

But to officials tracking the Corolla, Zemerai and his vehicle matched intelligence reports of an imminent, ISIS-generated attack against troops at the Kabul airport. At the time, McKenzie said, they were tracking roughly 60 reports of threats.

One of those, specifically, had been a white Toyota. When they saw the vehicle stop outside of a known ISIS compound in the city, then make several more stops, picking up and dropping off several adult men, loading and unloading supplies, they thought they had their target.

“We tracked a lot of other people. We didn’t track anybody … as closely as we did this, because of limitations on our resources,” McKenzie said. “And frankly, you know, we thought this was a good lead. We were wrong.”

One of those stops was to the office of Nutrition and Education International ? a non-governmental aid organization Zemerai had worked for over the previous 15 years.

There’s more at the source.


Category: "Teh Stoopid", Afghanistan, Biden, Disposable Warriors

Comments (34)

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  1. E4 Mafia '83-'87 says:

    I know several reader/posters were calling B.S. right after the strike was announced. You know the Pentagon released the news on a Friday figuring Creepy Sleepy Pedo joe will have another fuck-up by Monday, so Fox News can move on. Ya know The Pravda 3 won’t mention anything at all.

  2. MarineDad61 says:

    1. Correct me if I’m wrong,
    but the Middle East is full of White Toyotas, yes?
    Perhaps the most common vehicle to be found.

    Just as 30 years ago, in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait,
    the most common vehicles were
    white Toyota and white Datsun (yes, still Datsun) pickup trucks,
    followed by white Lincolns, white Ford Crown Vics, and white Cadillacs.

    Well, that’s 6 mentions of the word white in 1 comment
    (Ooops, now 7),
    enough to trigger many liberals… & Fakey Bookey social media algorithms.

    2. Didn’t the network news show us the details of that
    nice bombless bladed slice and dice missile?
    Cute when discussing the terrorists.
    Now, not so cute when discussing children.

    • A Proud Infidel®™️ says:

      When I was there, at least 2/3 of the cars in Asscanistan were white Toyota Corrolas!

    • MarineDad61 says:

      Note —
      << Presently in FakeBook jail for 24 hours,
      and the reason is related to this story.

      A local TV station's Book of the Fake
      reported on the new Biden billboards cropping up on our interstate highways,
      referring to Biden being portrayed in a "military outfit".

      My comment to the TV FakeBook page spared the politics,
      but dismissed military outfit,
      and gave clear details of the actual clothing and weapon (RPG)
      festooned on Biden for the billboards.

      I'll guess the word "raghead"
      between the words "terrorist" and "desert garb"
      triggered the algorithms.
      11 hours ago.

      Shame on liberal TV stations' versions of events,
      and shame on Fhuque Booque for ph'ing with Americans,
      while giving free reign to many other countries (in many other languages).
      Terrorist ragheads included.

    • Anonymous says:

      The white Toyota Hilux pickup truck– it’s everywhere in large numbers in the MidEast/Assscrackistan and probably the most numerous in the world because of that.

    • Green Thumb says:


      All driven by FNU, MNU and LNU.

  3. AW1Ed says:


    Firearm Safety Rule No. 4: Know your target and what’s beyond it.

  4. STSC(SW/SS) says:

    I’m afraid sorry isn’t going to cut it here.

  5. rgr769 says:

    Welp, it is more than “may have.” The general in command in A-stan has admitted that there was no valid intel that the vehicle they droned and its occupants had any connection wit ISIS-K. Moreover, they have admitted they killed 10 innocent people, including 7 children.

  6. Poetrooper says:

    “This strike was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport, but it was a mistake,” he (General Kenneth McKenzie, head of CENTCOM) said, confirming that no ISIS fighters are believed to have been killed in the attack.

    As Lars might say, “Bullshit!”

    Anybody wanna bet ol’ Poe that this wasn’t a “Wag the Dog” variation designed to distract public attention from Joe’s screwups and make his admin look effective?

  7. Hate_me says:

    A suit should be filed on behalf of the surviving family members, demanding millions for each family member killed along with guaranteed extradition to a country of their choosing; now that it’s public knowledge the late patriarch worked with the US, the survivors’ lives are in legitimate danger.

    There should also be some additional clause, in case the extraction should ‘unforeseeably’ go wrong.

  8. Skyjumper says:

    And not word from McKenzie, Austin, Milley or Kirby that seven of those “accidentally” killed were children. They instead referred to them as: multiple civilian casualties, others, victims, family members.
    Not one G-damn word that they were children!

    These chicken shit bastards own this one, along with Joe Biden!!

    And speaking of Biden, why isn’t he at the mic? Thought he had said that “he takes responsibility for every decision taken on Afghanistan”.

    I recall that many of us here at the time believed that the strike was just a distraction from the mess in Kabul and was some innocent goat herder martyred for the Biden cause.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hey, I thought progressive left/liberals were against this sort of thing…

  10. Only Army Mom says:

    This has me spun up.

    “…the COMMANDERS ON THE GROUND had appropriate authority and had reasonable certainty that the target was valid…” (emphasis mine)

    Is anyone else noticing how Milley is blaming everyone except Biden, the Pentagon, et al, you know, those who were in command running the show and deciding what can and cannot be done? Does anyone believe those on the ground really developed this intel and acted on it all on their own?

    Just when I thought this administration and his appointed boot lickers couldn’t get any more despicable.

    Just my ha’penny of thoughts…
    Our dear leader was assuring us the Taliban were partnering with us for security. When they allowed a suicide bomber to kill 13 Americans and dozens of civilians, did dear leader’s flunkies get tough and demand Mr Taliban warn us about a threat? And Mr Taliban, being Taliban, lie and use us to kill a “collaborator”? What better way to get rid of one of their enemies, and further terrorize the population than to “help” the Americans kill those America has abandoned?

    And no one in the media here is calling BS that it was the “commanders on the ground” in charge. Because the “commanders on the ground” made the decision to close Bagram and create the cluster at Kabul. Yeah.

    • Fyrfighter says:

      “And Mr Taliban, being Taliban, lie and use us to kill a “collaborator”? “.. This x1000

    • SteeleyI says:

      Most likely the President set a number of limitations and constraints on CENTCOM as they were planning this. The biggest one was probably a cap on the number of boots on the ground, which would make it essentially impossible to secure both Bagram and the airport.

      The lesson we never seem to learn is that limiting the number of troops on the ground actually sucks us into a larger commitment when the initial deployment can’t solve the problem. This is what happened in Somalia, Niger, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan writ large, and of course this evacuation. Democrats are guilty of this, but Rumsfeld famously did it in Iraq.

      • SFC D says:

        If I’m remembering correctly, GEN McKenzie said exactly that before Congress last week. Given the troop constraints he had to work with, he could not hold Bagram. I’m not faulting McKenzie for this, I’m holding the people who tied his hands for this.

  11. Old tanker says:

    I’m not sure why everyone is up in arms over this. Yes biden managed to kill some kids and adults who worked for US forces in country. This was simply a continuation of removing potential conservative voters from entering the country. Just like when he gave the taliban a freaking list of names of folks that we supposedly wanted to bring to this country. After all what he did was just cut out the middleman in killing our allies.

    Dumbass move on both situations, but then it was a dumbass move to trust the taliban to police the city during the evacuation and leave US citizens including kids behind.

  12. Hatchet says:

    ‘This was a righteous strike,’ said Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark A. Milley insisted days later, insisting that Ahmadi was an ‘ISIS facilitator’.

  13. SteeleyI says:

    OK, here’s how it works:

    We often compare intelligence collection to criminal investigations, because the techniques are often similar if not exactly the same. However, criminal investigations are designed to ascertain criminal culpability, where intelligence collection simply determines the composition, disposition, and intent of an enemy or adversary: it is meant to be predictive, not determine ‘guilt’ or innocence’. In fact, in conventional war, an enemy actively trying to kill you is operating within the law and is therefore ‘innocent’.

    Like it or not, despite what the president says, the war isn’t over. The Authorization for the Use of Force that GW used to go into Afghanistan in the first place is still in effect. We have used it several times, in Syria, all over Africa, and it was the legal justification for this drone attack. We will no doubt use it again to justify ‘offshore policing’ (aka drone strikes, because Democrats typically do not like boots on the ground).

    The use of military force in Afghanistan is governed by DoD, specifically CENTCOM. Ordinarily, the US Ambassador is the President’s ultimate authority, but since that is not the case here the CENTCOM commander is essentially a Shogun. Milley gives advice, but the change of command is CENTOM>SecDef>POTUS.

    The president no doubt issued guidance to make someone pay for the bombings right away. The euphemistically names Effects Cell at CENTCOM went to work, looking for someone to kill.

    They no doubt have ‘unblinking eye’ coverage of the Airport, meaning a database of footage from drones, security cameras, and other assets. Some poor kid at Langley or CENTOM G-2/513th MI/AFCENT spent hours looking at video of the attack, identified suspicious vehicles, and tracked them to their origin. Clearly, this was the bad guy we were all mad at.

    Now, if you know anything about intel, you know that you really shouldn’t act on single source information- notice I didn’t say ‘single source intel’. If it’s single source, it really isn’t intel. You create intelligence by fusing information from multiple disciplines of intelligence- SIGINT, IMINT, HUMINT, MASINT, etc. As a rule of thumb, you really oughta have info from at least three disciplines. This is called synthesis, kinda the opposite of analysis. All of them can be fooled or spoofed, or in this case, paint an incomplete picture.

    What’s missing here? The big one is of course HUMINT. We have burned all of our sources. Ironically, the victim here probably was at one time a candidate for that role.

    In other words, we killed a guy and his family based totally on circumstantial evidence. This is why having actual boots on the ground matters. We didn’t learn this lesson in the Clinton era, and it brought us 9/11. The Long War is nowhere near over, although we will probably pretend it is and stop fighting.

    • SFC D says:

      The “Global War on Terror” will never end. The faces, names, and locations will change, but it will not end. This is our world now. It did not start with 9/11, it just moved to the forefront.

    • Anonymous says:

      Pardon the language (and its repetitive nature) but it fits:

  14. Jay says:

    So lemme get this straight: LtCol Stu Scheller calls out the hypocrisy of leadership committing abject fuck ups and is threatened with a court martial and resigns his commission.

    Milley and McKenzie both say, “Oops! Our bad!” To drone striking and killing SEVEN CHILDREN, and they both have “full confidence of the current administration.”

    Yep, the inmates are running the asylum.

    • Roh-Dog says:

      Looking forward to the ‘accidental’ dronings of Americans, but on US soil this time…you know, “for the kids”. Ain’t that right Bathhouse Barry?

  15. TopGoz says:

    This should have been included with the “Stupid People of the Week” thread.

  16. timactual says:

    They saw one last chance to “drone” somebody before the arcade shut down and they took it. What’s a little more “collateral damage” among friends?