Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley made a flurry of false statements about a U.S. drone strike in Kabul that killed 10 innocent people, including seven children.
Milley made the comments in the space of one minute during a September 1 press conference alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. A reporter pressed Milley on whether U.S. forces had gone through all the proper checks before carrying out the strike.
“We had very good intelligence that ISIS-K was preparing a specific type vehicle at a specific type location. We monitored that through various means and all of the engagement criteria were being met. We went through the same level of rigor that we’ve done for years and we took a strike,” Milley said. (RELATED: CENTCOM Says It’s ‘Unclear What May Have Happened’ In Kabul Drone Strike That Reportedly Killed Civilians)
In fact, the vehicle in question did not meet U.S. engagement criteria, as it was being driven by an Afghan man who worked for a U.S. humanitarian organization, according to reporting from The New York Times. The U.S. had some intelligence indicating that a white Toyota Corolla would be used in an attack at the U.S. airport. After monitoring the wrong white Toyota Corolla for roughly eight hours, the U.S. carried out the strike.
“Clearly our intelligence was wrong on this particular white Toyota Corolla,” Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, admitted to reporters Friday.
U.S. forces also did not apply the “same level of rigor” in the incident as other drone strikes. While McKinzie insisted Friday that the process hadn’t been rushed, he admitted that the U.S. carried out the strike under “extreme time pressure.”
“Secondly is we know that there was secondary explosions,” Milley continued. “Because there was secondary explosions, there’s a reasonable conclusion to be made that there was explosives in that vehicle. The third thing, as we know from a variety of other means, that at least one of those people that were killed was an ISIS facilitator.”
In fact, none of the people killed were members of, or affiliated with, ISIS-K.
“So were there others killed? Yes, there are others killed. Who they are, we don’t know. We’ll try to sort through all of that. But we believe that the procedures at this point — I don’t want to influence the outcome of an investigation — but at this point, we think that the procedures were correctly followed and it was a righteous strike,” Milley finished.
Once again, U.S. forces did not follow the procedures with the same level of rigor as other drone strikes, which are carried out without “extreme time pressure.”