Former Obama Joint Chiefs of Staff: 'Absolutely' Should Be Accountability for Mistaken Kabul Drone Strike


Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen is reacting to the Pentagon saying as many as 10 civilians were killed last month in a drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan.

During Sunday’s ABC “This Week” interview, Mullen was asked, “Should there be accountability?”

“Absolutely. I think there should,” he responded.

Mullen continued, “This was obviously an incredibly complex, fast-moving situation. We lost those 13 military members a couple of days before that. There was clear intelligence that additional strikes were on the way, so it was in that environment in which this strike actually took place.”

He added that the Pentagon “rightfully admitted that it was a mistake.”

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ABC’s Martha Raddatz noted the strike occurred on August 29, The New York Times had an “incredibly compelling” piece more than a week ago about surveillance on the ground and it “took five days more for the Pentagon to say it was a huge mistake.”

Mullen responded, “I think you’re going to want to try to get this right. Clearly they were convinced at the time it was a good strike, and it takes some time to do that, and this is the same command that’s been evacuating Afghanistan and all that that entails. I’m not overly concerned about how long it took.”

Watch the interview below:

Mullen served as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the end of the Bush administration and beginning of the Obama administration.

U.S. Central Command head Gen. Frank McKenzie said during a press briefing on Friday, “I am now convinced that as many as 10 civilians, including up to seven children were tragically killed in that strike.”

“Moreover, we analyzed that it is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died or associated with ISIS-K or were a direct threat to US forces,” he added. “Our investigation now concludes that the strike was a tragic mistake.

“This strike was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces in the evacuees at the airport, but it was a mistake. And I offer my sincere apology,” McKenzie said. “As the combatant commander. I am fully responsible for the strike in this tragic outcome.”

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Mullen also said he believes there should be accountability for the Afghanistan withdrawal, adding at the end of the interview, “I hope there is.”

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