The U.S. Department of Defense is investigating the possibility that ten Afghan civilians died on Sunday as a result of an American drone strike on a suspected vehicle of the terrorist group Islamic State (IS).
The circumstances of the deaths of ten civilians, mostly minors, are still unclear, as the Taliban have ruled out that they were killed by the U.S. strike.
Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, General Hank Taylor, explained at a press conference that on Sunday US forces stationed in Afghanistan carried out a drone bombing against a vehicle “known to be an imminent threat” from ISIS.
“This self-defense strike successfully hit the target near Kabul airport,” Taylor detailed.
This was followed by a series of “secondary explosions” in the targeted vehicle, indicating, according to the general, the presence of a significant amount of explosives.
“We are aware of reports of civilian casualties, and we take these reports very seriously, and we are continuing to assess the situation,” Taylor said.
From Kabul, several Taliban sources consulted by Efe news agency assured that the civilian casualties were caused by the impact of a projectile targeting the airport, without clarifying the authorship, and indicated that it is not related to the attack of the American drone.
However, U.S. authorities have neither confirmed nor denied that possibility.
Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby said at the same press conference that the Pentagon is not in a position to deny reports of civilian casualties in Sunday’s drone bombing.
“As the general (referring to Taylor) has said, we are assessing, we are investigating, but make no mistake, no military on the face of the Earth works harder to avoid civilian casualties than the United States’ military,” he stressed.
He remarked that they are taking this matter “very, very seriously” and affirmed that the US is “transparent” when it knows that it has caused civilian casualties through its operations: “We are looking into it, I’m not going to get ahead of myself, but if we have verifiable information that there was loss of innocent lives by us, we will be transparent about it.”