Home Civilian based defense Failed drone strikes will continue without a ground presence in Afghanistan, former...

Failed drone strikes will continue without a ground presence in Afghanistan, former defense official says

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Sebastien hugues September 24, 2021

  • Experts have told the Daily Caller News Foundation that botched airstrikes like the one that killed 10 Afghan civilians will continue without a ground presence in the country.
  • “It will be more difficult to target people and know they are the right people,” Mick Mulroy, former Assistant Deputy Secretary of Defense (DASD) for the Middle East and Afghanistan veteran, told DCNF .
  • “You can kill terrorists. there is no doubt. But there is a difference between killing individual terrorists and actually getting rid of the threat, ”James Carafano, vice president of national security and foreign policy at the Heritage Foundation, told DCNF.

Mistakes like the ones that led to the deaths of 10 civilians in a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan will continue without a ground presence, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Now that we have no more presence on the ground, it will be more difficult to target people and know that they are the right people”, Mick Mulroy, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for the Middle East. and Afghanistan veteran, told DCNF.

Mulroy said the shrinking US human intelligence network in the country would have a severe impact on the military’s ability to monitor terrorism. “We had an intelligence service. We had bases all over the country. We had the opportunity to travel, to meet people. Now we don’t have any of that, ”he said.

The August 29 drone strike approved by the United States was aimed at targeting suspected ISIS-K fighters, but a New York Times investigation concluded that only civilians, including an aid worker and several children, were killed. .

The Pentagon had followed aid worker Zemari Ahmadi’s vehicle throughout the day. According to the NYT investigation, they believed he had stopped at the ISIS-K shelter and mistook the water-filled containers he loaded in his car as a potential threat.

The drone operators had not kept watch on Ahmadi’s house all day and said they did not see any children in the area when they launched the Hellfire missile.

The US military later admitted not knowing anything about the aid worker they suspected of being a terrorist before going on strike. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley called it a “just strike” before the Times report was released.

“There is no demonstrable evidence that shows you can eliminate a transnational target simply through targeted assassination,” James Carafano, vice president of national security and foreign policy at the DCNF, told DCNF. Heritage Foundation. “You can kill terrorists. there is no doubt. But there is a difference between killing individual terrorists and actually getting rid of the threat. “

He noted that terrorists in the region now have 20 years of experience with the US military and know how to hide to avoid detection. Resorting to the Taliban and Pakistani intelligence will also undo American efforts, because “if these are terrorists that they don’t want you to kill,” the United States cannot find them.

Mulroy, who called the incident an “absolute parody,” said there must be a federal review of the number of citizens killed by drone strikes, not only because of moral obligation, but because of the negative sentiment towards the United States that they can create. following them.

Fox Business host Lisa Kennedy argued on “The Five” that the Biden administration’s policy of “shoot first, shoot later” is how terrorists are created. “This is why there are so many military people, especially special operators, who oppose drone strikes in general, but especially these kinds of people who really miss the mark,” she said.

“Part of the ability to conduct these operations is the confidence in the American people that they are being done with the utmost care not to… kill innocent civilians, especially children,” Mulroy said.

Carafano supports a full investigation into the errors that caused the 10 civilian deaths, but has “no confidence” that the White House will produce anything of substance. He compared the White House’s call to an investigation to the 90-day intelligence review into the origins of COVID-19.

“The intelligence community came back with a predictable report that we don’t have the answer,” he said. “Why should we believe it’s any different? The White House is happy to investigate, they push it out of the news cycle and then they’ll move on. “

“I think all of this should be incorporated into a larger 9/11 style investigation,” Carafano added. “What happened during the evacuation, including the drone strike, is fundamental not only to understanding what went wrong in the past, but also what we need to do now to ensure our safety in the future.”

One question Mulroy wants to answer is how the Biden administration was able to make such a definitive statement of success after the drone strike.

“The only thing I saw them say was that he stopped at… what they believed to be an ISIS refuge. Okay, so how many other people are stopping at this ISIS hideout? ” he said. “I don’t understand how they didn’t know there were kids there and if the car wasn’t heading for the airport, why was it considered an imminent threat?”

Mulroy made it clear that his analysis was unaware of the information available to the US military and that it is easy to ‘chair quarterback’ in situations like this, but said people should be ‘required responsible ”if they did not follow the proper procedures.

“We have to do better,” he said. “Innocent people have died and eventually the American people will lose confidence in our ability to do this type of operation.”

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