Blinken says U.S. doesn't know who was killed in Kabul drone strike
Facing scrutiny from a Senate panel Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted that he doesn't know if the U.S. mistakenly targeted an aid worker in a drone strike in Kabul that reportedly killed 10 Afghan civilians.
Driving the news: The U.S. is still investigating the strike, and maintains it "was taken to prevent an imminent threat to the airport," Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said in a statement Tuesday. "We do work very hard to avoid civilian casualties, and we would be deeply saddened by any loss of innocent life.”
- The New York Times reported the drone had mistakenly hit a worker for the U.S. aid group Zemari Ahmadi.
What they're saying: "Was he an aid worker or an ISIS-K operative?" Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) asked Blinken at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Tuesday about the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
- "I don't know," Blinken said, adding that the strike is still under review.
- "You'd think you'd kind of know before you off somebody with a predator drone, whether he's an aid worker or he's an ISIS-K operative," Paul responded, suggesting that past administrations have also killed civilians in airstrikes, resulting in "blowback" that can engender more extremists.