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US Muslim group CAIR demands Pentagon officials resign for Kabul strike

06:46 22 January 2022 Author :  

Any Pentagon official directly involved in a botched airstrike in Afghanistan last year should resign, including United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a Muslim-American advocacy group said Thursday.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) also called for the resignation of "any military officials who had a direct role in approving the drone strike that killed 10 civilians" in August.

The demand came a day after the Pentagon released a video of the attack.

The New York Times obtained the footage through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against U.S. Central Command, which then posted the imagery to its website. It marks the first public release of video footage of the Aug. 29 strike, which the Pentagon initially defended but later called a tragic mistake.

The videos include about 25 minutes of footage from what the Times reported were two MQ-9 Reaper drones, showing the scene of the strike prior to, during and after a missile struck a civilian car in a courtyard on a residential street. Indistinct images show individuals moving in or near the attack zone, as The Associated Press (AP) reported.

The military has said it struck what it thought was a member of the Daesh terrorist group's Afghanistan affiliate who might imminently detonate a bomb near the Kabul airport, where a hurried evacuation was still under way.

Three days earlier a suicide bombing at the airport had killed 13 U.S. troops and more than 160 Afghans. When it later acknowledged its error in the Aug. 29 drone strike, Central Command said it determined that the man driving the car had nothing to do with the Daesh group.

The man was Zemari Ahmadi, who worked for Nutrition and Education International, a U.S.-based aid organization.

CAIR National Deputy Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said the video shows "the Pentagon launched a reckless attack that was guaranteed to kill innocent people in a densely packed neighborhood."

"This attack was not simply an honest mistake or a rare occurrence; it was the latest in a long line of reckless drone strikes that have killed innocent people at homes, weddings and funerals in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere," said Mitchell, according to remarks carried by Anadolu Agency (AA).

"Any Pentagon leaders who played a direct role in approving the horrific massacre of these innocent people – including seven children – should take responsibility by stepping down. If Secretary Austin was directly involved in approving the strike, he should resign," he added.

The Defense Department ruled out any punishment for U.S. soldiers involved in the drone strike, which triggered global condemnation. The Aug. 29 drone attack was one of the last strikes when the U.S. military was still in the war-torn country before it pulled out along with all foreign forces in August./DS

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