President Joe Biden wants a 'thorough' government investigation of the US drone strike that killed an Afghan aide worker and his family members, including seven children, the White House said Monday.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki fielded multiple questions about the strike, which the Pentagon now calls a tragic mistake, after the Pentagon confirmed at a Friday afternoon briefing it had not taken out an ISIS target as the government initially stated.
'So as a human being, as a president, as somebody who has overseen loss in a variety of scenarios, both as a leader and personally, it is his reaction - it's a tragedy. And every loss of life is a tragedy,' Psaki said. 'And he supports the effort to move this forward as soon as possible and have a thorough investigation.
President Joe Biden wants a 'thorough' probe into the US drone strike that killed 10 Afghans, the White House said
She dodged a question about whether anyone should be fired over the matter, saying it was important that the Pentagon 'came forward and made very clear that this was, that they wanted to see this move forward quickly. They wanted to be as transparent as possible. They wanted to learn from what had happened.
'As the combatant commander, I am fully responsible for this strike and its tragic outcome,' Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of Central Command, said at Friday's briefing, where he laid out how the military targeted a white Toyota vehicle in Kabul believing it was carrying out an ISIS plot to target the airport during the US evacuation.
A frame grab from Pentagon TV shows Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of US Central Command, announcing via videolink, the completion of the US withdrawn from Afghanistan, on 30 August 2021. McKenzie admitted the US acted in error when it carred out a drone strike in the final days of the US evacuation
Family members of the victims of a US drone strike, stand beside the wreckage of the damaged vehicles, at their home, a day after US apologised for attacking the civilians
The drone strike followed an ISIS-K suicide attack on the Kabul airport.
Psaki cited the 'direct threats from ISIS-K against our troops who were on the ground in Afghanistan. And that was the scenario where the strike was made. Obviously it was done in error. And obviously there was a horrific tragedy that happened.
McKenzie had earlier called it a 'righteous strike,' under the belief that it took out a military target and caused a secondary explosion.
She defended the nation's ability to carry out future 'over the horizon' strikes in Afghanistan, despite the error.
Biden immediately after the strike described it as a form of retribution against ISIS-K terrorists.
'This strike was not the last. We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay,' he said late last month.