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Afghan girls ordered home just hours after schools reopen in Taliban reversal

The Japan Times

Kabul – The Taliban ordered girls' secondary schools in Afghanistan to shut Wednesday just hours after they reopened, an official confirmed, sparking confusion and heartbreak over the policy reversal by the hard-line Islamist group. "Yes, it's true," Taliban spokesman Inamullah Samangani said when asked to confirm reports that girls had been ordered home. He would not immediately explain the reasoning, while education ministry spokesman Aziz Ahmad Rayan said: "We are not allowed to comment on this." An AFP team was filming at Zarghona High School in the capital, Kabul, when a teacher entered and said class was over. Crestfallen students, back at school for the first time since the Taliban seized power in August last year, tearfully packed up their belongings and filed out.


Pentagon releases footage of deadly Kabul drone strike

Al Jazeera

The Pentagon for the first time publicly released drone footage of a botched strike in Kabul that killed 10 members of a family, including seven children, amid the chaotic US withdrawal from the country. The footage was initially obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by The New York Times and was subsequently released by US Central Command on Thursday. It appears to underscore how, by the Pentagon's own account, limited intelligence, a heightened state of alert, and rushed decision-making led to the killing of civilians. The fuzzy footage, which officials told the newspaper was recorded by two MQ-9 Reaper drones, shows the moments before the fatal drone strike on a car in a courtyard in Kabul on August 29. One segment of footage appears to show a shorter, blurry figure in white next to a taller figure in black in the courtyard as the targeted car backs in to park, according to the analysis by the Times.


Kabul drone attack: US advocates decry 'impunity, secrecy'

Al Jazeera

Washington, DC – The United States is sending a "dangerous and misleading message" by failing to hold any US military personnel responsible for a Kabul drone attack that killed 10 civilians, including seven children, human rights advocates have said. Calls for accountability for the deadly bombing on August 29 grew on Tuesday, a day after US media outlets first reported that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had accepted a recommendation from top commanders not to punish any members of the military. Rights groups also urged President Joe Biden's administration to do more to help the survivors of the attack in the Afghan capital to relocate to the US. The bombing targeted the car of Zemari Ahmadi, who worked for US-based aid organisation Nutrition and Education International (NEI), killing him and nine of his family members. "I've been beseeching the US government to evacuate directly-impacted family members and NEI employees for months because their security situation is so dire," Steven Kwon, founder and president of NEI, said in a statement.


No U.S. troops to be punished over deadly Kabul drone strike

The Japan Times

Washington – The Pentagon said Monday that no U.S. troops or officials would face disciplinary action for a drone strike in Kabul in August that killed 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children. Spokesman John Kirby said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had received a high-level review of the strike that made no recommendation of accountability. "He approved their recommendations," Kirby said. "The secretary is not … calling for additional accountability measures." "There was not a strong enough case to be made for personal accountability," Kirby added.


US will not punish troops for deadly Kabul drone attack

Al Jazeera

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has decided against disciplining any members of the United States military for an August drone attack in Kabul that killed 10 civilians, including seven children, the New York Times and several US news outlets reported. An internal Pentagon review concluded last month that the August 29 bombing in the Afghan capital did not violate the laws of war and was not caused by misconduct or criminal negligence. The New York Times first reported on Austin's decision on Monday, citing an unidentified senior Pentagon official who said the defence secretary had approved a recommendation from two US military commanders not to discipline any personnel involved in the attack. The Washington Post, NBC News, and The Associated Press later confirmed the decision, also citing unidentified US officials. Asked about the investigation during a news briefing on Monday afternoon, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby did not directly confirm the media outlets' reports.


Watchdog finds no misconduct in mistaken Afghan airstrike

FOX News

Fox News contributor Joey Jones reacts to testimony from Pentagon officials on the Afghanistan withdrawal and slams the New York Times' proposed redesigns of the American flag. An independent Pentagon review has concluded that the U.S. drone strike that killed innocent Kabul civilians and children in the final days of the Afghanistan war was not caused by misconduct or negligence, and it doesn't recommend any disciplinary action. The review, done by Air Force Lt. Gen. Sami Said, found there were breakdowns in communication and in the process of identifying and confirming the target of the bombing. Said concluded that the mistaken strike happened despite prudent measures to prevent civilian deaths. "I found that given the information they had and the analysis that they did -- I understand they reached the wrong conclusion, but ... was it reasonable to conclude what they concluded based on what they had? It just turned out to be incorrect," Said said.


No misconduct in deadly US drone attack in Kabul: Pentagon review

Al Jazeera

A United States drone attack that killed 10 civilians, including seven children, in the Afghan capital Kabul in August did not violate the laws of war, an internal Pentagon review has concluded. Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday, US Air Force Lieutenant General Sami Said said "execution errors", including "confirmation bias" and "communication breakdowns", contributed to the deadly attack. But Said, who acts as inspector general of the US Air Force, said it was not a violation of the law of war or a result of negligence. "It was an honest mistake," Said said. The drone strike on August 29 came amid the US's chaotic military withdrawal from Kabul, and Said also stressed that it took place as American forces were contending with threats from the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K), an affiliate of ISIS (ISIL).


U.S. Offers Payments to Families of Afghans Killed in Kabul Drone Strike

Slate

The United States has offered unspecified condolence payments to the families of the 10 civilians, including seven children, who were mistakenly killed in the Aug. 29 drone strike in Kabul that took place shortly before American troops withdrew from Afghanistan. The Pentagon also said it's working with the State Department to support family members who may want to relocate to the United States. The U.S. military insisted for almost three weeks that the drone strike was justified, claiming it had stopped an attack planned for Kabul's airport. But it later changed its tune amid an overwhelming amount of evidence. Weeks after the Pentagon acknowledged the strike had hit civilians, Colin H. Kahl, the under secretary of defense for policy, held a virtual meeting with Steven Kwon, the founder and president of Nutrition & Education International.


U.S. offers payments and relocation to family of Afghans killed in botched drone attack

The Japan Times

The Pentagon has offered unspecified condolence payments to the family of 10 civilians who were killed in a botched U.S. drone attack in Afghanistan in August during the final days before American troops withdrew from the country. The U.S. Defense Department said it made a commitment that included offering "ex-gratia condolence payments," in addition to working with the U.S. State Department in support of the family members who were interested in relocation to the United States. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, held a virtual meeting on Thursday with Steven Kwon, the founder and president of Nutrition & Education International, the aid organization that employed Zemari Ahmadi, who was killed in the Aug. 29 drone attack, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said late on Friday. Ahmadi and others who were killed in the strike were innocent victims who bore no blame and were not affiliated with Islamic State Khorasan or threats to U.S. forces, Kirby said. The drone strike in Kabul killed as many as 10 civilians, including seven children.


Afghanistan: US offers to pay relatives of Kabul drone attack victims

BBC News

The compensation offer was made on Thursday in a meeting between Colin Kahl, the under-secretary of defence for policy, and Steven Kwon, the founder and president of an aid group active in Afghanistan called Nutrition and Education International, the Pentagon said in a statement.