Sanders: Killing of Afghan civilians in US drone strike 'unacceptable'
Independent Senator Bernie Sanders has denounced the US military drone strike in Afghanistan that killed 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children. He said the deadly attack was "unacceptable."
"I certainly hope they understand what happened and make sure that never happens again. And this is not only a human tragedy, it reflects on us before the entire world. It's unacceptable," Sanders said of the Biden administration while talking to CBS News on Sunday.
The US military on Friday admitted killing 10 Afghan civilians in the drone strike last month. Washington had previously claimed that those who killed were terrorists.
The Pentagon had maintained the August 29 strike targeted a Daesh-K terrorist who posed an imminent threat to American troops at the Kabul airport, with Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley calling it a "righteous strike.”
But on Friday, General Frank McKenzie, the top General of US Central Command, announced at the Pentagon that the military investigation has found it killed 10 civilians and the driver and that the vehicle targeted was not a threat associated with Daesh-K, a shadowy terrorist group that emerged following the last month bomb blast at the Kabul airport. The attack killed scores of Afghans and over a dozen Americans.
McKenzie told reporters that the US military drone strike was a "mistake" and offered an apology.
Last week, Republican Senator Rand Paul questioned US Secretary of State Antony Blinken over whether the US drone strike killed a terrorist or an innocent aid worker. Blinken was unable to confirm the identity of the target.
“So, you don’t know or won’t tell us?” Paul asked Blinken.
“I don’t know because we’re reviewing it,” Blinken answered.
“You’d think you’d kind of know before you off someone,” Paul said in his exchange with Blinken.
"Maybe you’ve created hundreds or thousands of new potential terrorists from bombing the wrong people,” he said.
Senator Sanders has previously been opposed to the US military’s use of drone strikes in Afghanistan, saying during his 2015 presidential campaign that he would move to limit them.
The United States, however, is reportedly going to increase its drone surveillance and strikes in Afghanistan despite formally pulling out troops after implementing a policy of death and destruction for twenty years.