The US has admitted that a drone strike in Kabul days before its military pullout killed 10 innocent people.
A US Central Command investigation found that an aid worker and nine members of his family, including seven children, died in the 29 August strike.
The youngest child, Sumaya, was just two years old.
The deadly strike happened days after a terror attack at Kabul airport, amid a frenzied evacuation effort following the Taliban’s sudden return to power.
It was one of the US military’s final acts in Afghanistan, before ending its 20-year operation in the country.
US intelligence had tracked the aid worker’s car for eight hours, believing it was linked to IS-K militants – a local branch of the Islamic State (IS) group, US Central Command Gen Kenneth McKenzie said.
At one point, a surveillance drone saw men loading what appeared to be explosives into the boot of the car, but it turned out to be containers of water.
Gen McKenzie described the strike as a “tragic mistake”.
The strike happened as the aid worker – named as Zamairi Akmadhi – pulled into the driveway of his home, 3km (1.8 miles) from the airport.
Relatives of the victims told the BBC the day after the strike that they had applied to be evacuated to the US, and had been waiting for a phone call telling them to go to the airport.
The US had been on high alert after a suicide bomber killed more than 100 civilians and 13 US troops outside the airport on 26 August. IS-K said it had carried out the attack.
Many of those killed had been hoping to board one of the evacuation flights leaving the city, which fell to the Taliban on 15 August.
The last US soldier left Afghanistan on 31 August – the deadline President Joe Biden set for the US withdrawal.
But more than that, this catastrophe exposed the dreadful human cost of a war that had been fought largely from the air for years.
But for some in the region, it is a particularly stark example of the ongoing dangers of drone warfare.
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