‘This Is a Complete and Utter Failure’: Reporters Grill CENTCOM Commander on Kabul Airstrike Killing Civilians, Including 7 Children


U.S. CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie was grilled by reporters on Friday for admitting the August 29 Kabul strike was a mistake that killed innocent children.

The U.S. military initially claimed they took out a vehicle they believed was an imminent threat to the airport in Kabul where evacuations were ongoing. However, McKenzie publicly acknowledged that in the end, no ISIS-K fighters were killed, but 10 civilians — including 7 children — were.

One reporter told McKenzie rather bluntly, “This is a complete and utter failure.”

McKenzie again acknowledged the strike was “a terrible mistake” that “we take full responsibility for.”

“While I agree with it, this strike certainly did not come up to our standard and I profoundly regret it. I would not qualify the entire operation in those terms,” he added.

Asked if anyone will be held responsible, McKenzie said they’re continuing “that line of investigation.”

Another reporter asked McKenzie what this horrific tragedy says “about the reliability of future strikes.”

“This was a self-defense strike taken under self-defense rules of engagement based on an imminent threat to attack us. That is not the way that we would strike in an OTH mission going into Afghanistan against ISIS-K targets. For one thing, that would not be a self-defense strike. It’ll be done under different rules of engagement,” he responded.

When one reporter asked if the “this intelligence was not good,” McKenzie stated, “Clearly our intelligence was wrong on this particular white Toyota Corolla.”

You can watch part of the Q&A above, via CNN.

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: josh@mediaite.com Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac