Sunday’s strike had targeted a vehicle in Kabul, which the US Central Command said represented an “imminent” threat to the evacuation efforts ongoing at Hamid Karzai International Airport at the time.
Local media and the Taliban, however, said that 10 civilians were killed as a result – seven of them children.
Addressing reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley repeated the claim by CENTCOM that “secondary explosions” were evidence that the vehicle was intended to attack the airport.
“At this point, we think that the procedures were correctly followed, and it was a righteous strike,” he told reporters, adding that “at least one” person who was killed was a “facilitator” for the terrorist group Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K). It was ISIS-K that claimed responsibility for last Thursday’s suicide bombing outside the airport, which killed an estimated 200 Afghans and 13 US troops.
“Were the others killed? Yes. Who are they? We don’t know,” Milley said, adding there would be an investigation.