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Pentagon will not punish U.S. troops over Kabul strike that killed 10 civilians

Pentagon will not punish U.S. troops over Kabul strike that killed 10 civilians
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday decided that the Pentagon would not take disciplinary action against U.S. disciplinary personnel involved in a drone strike that killed 10 citizens in Kabul on Aug. 29. File Pool Photo by Patrick Semansky/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin accepted recommendations Monday to not take disciplinary action against U.S. military personnel involved in an August drone strike in Afghanistan that killed 10 civilians.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Austin instructed heads of Central Command and Special Operations Command to make recommendations to improve Defense Department policies and procedures but their recommendations did not include holding anyone accountable or punishing anyone involved in the strike.

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"The secretary reviewed the recommendations. I won't get into all of them. Some of them are understandably classified, but he approved their recommendations," Kirby said. "So I do not anticipate there being issues of personal accountability to be had with respect to the Aug. 29 airstrike."

Military officials previously said the attack in Kabul was not a result of criminal negligence.

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Additionally, the Air Force inspector general who led an independent investigation of the strike in November said the strike did not violate laws of war but evidence suggested mistakes were made as a result of "confirmation bias" on the part of the analysts and commanders involved. That review also did not recommend disciplinary action.

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The Pentagon initially reported it killed at least one militant associated with the Islamic State-Khorasan Province, an offshoot of the Islamic State active in the historic Khorasan region.

However, on Sept. 17, the Pentagon admitted it killed 10 Afghan civilians, including several children in what Gen. Frank McKenzie of the U.S. Central Command described as a "tragic mistake."

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McKenzie said U.S. forces believed a civilian vehicle was associated with the militant group behind an explosion at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul that killed dozens of civilians and 13 U.S. troops Aug. 26.

Austin at the time offered his condolences to the victims' families and said he hoped the Defense Department will "learn from this horrible mistake."

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