Failed drone in Kabul strikes latest fury involving Milley, who called the operation “fair”
A botched drone strike in Kabul targeting ISIS-K terrorists, but which the Pentagon admitted on Friday, instead killed an aid worker and his family, including seven children, is the latest rage to implicate the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley – who called the strike “fair” but described it Friday as a “horrible tragedy”.
U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. said on Friday that ISIS-K members are unlikely to have been killed in a Kabul drone strike on August 29, which left many civilian victims.
THE GENERAL SAYS IT IS LOW LIKELY OF ISIS-K MEMBERS KILLED IN AUGUST THE DRONES STRIKE IN KABUL: “A TRAGIC MISTAKE”
“We now believe that it is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died were associated with ISIS-K or a direct threat to US forces,” McKenzie said of the airstrike in a briefing, following an investigation by the military.
The drone strike, which targeted ISIS-K operatives, resulted in the deaths of an aid worker and up to nine family members, including seven children. According to US officials, the attack on the vehicle, once considered a bomb threat and operated by ISIS militants, took place after a suicide bomb attack at the airport from Kabul to Afghanistan killed 13 US military and civilians.
Milley earlier this month had defended the strike, although the details weren’t entirely clear.
“At this point, we believe that the procedures were followed correctly and that it was a fair strike,” he said during a press briefing.
On Friday, he said the decision to strike was taken in a “high threat environment”, coming just days after a deadly terrorist attack on US troops at Kabul airport.
MILEY’S CALLS WITH CHINESE COUNTERPART “WERE NOT SECRET”: US OFFICERS
“In a dynamic, high threat environment, field commanders had the appropriate authority and had reasonable certainty that the target was valid, but upon further analysis after the strike, our conclusion is that innocent civilians were killed. “, did he declare. “It is a horrible tragedy of war and it is heartbreaking and we are committed to being fully transparent about this incident.”
But it marks the latest fury to engulf the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has come under fire for revelations in a new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, which reports that Milley was involved in secret phone calls with its Chinese counterpart.
The book alleges that the phone calls took place before the 2020 presidential election on October 30, 2020 and two days after the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill on January 8, 2021.
The book claims that Milley contacted Li after reviewing information suggesting that Chinese officials believed the United States was planning an attack on China as part of military exercises in the South China Sea.
However, Fox News spoke to several people who were in the room during the two calls, which were by video conference, not over the phone. Officials said the calls were coordinated with the office of the secretary of defense.
“They weren’t secret,” a US official told Fox News.
GEN. MILEY DENIE INTEL ADVISED OF RAPID COLLAPSE, SAYS NO ONE FORECAST AFGHAN SECURITY COLLAPSE
Milley’s spokesman Col. Dave Butler said in a statement Wednesday that “the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs communicates regularly with defense chiefs around the world, including China and Russia.”
In addition, there was meticulous examination in a reported-in-the-book phone call between Milley and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi following the January 6 riot, in which Pelosi allegedly asked if Milley would take nuclear football away from Trump – which Milley said repelled.
The book’s revelations, in turn, come after Milley defended the decisions made during the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and said the rapid collapse of the Afghan government was unforeseen.
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“There was nothing I or anyone else saw that indicated a collapse of this army and this government in 11 days,” Milley said at a briefing last month.
Milley was responding to reports that the information had warned the security situation in Afghanistan would deteriorate rapidly, with some suggesting that President Joe Biden may have ignored these warnings to continue the planned withdrawal of his forces.
President Biden said this week he still had “great faith” in Milley, amid unrest surrounding his top military adviser.
Fox News’ Kyle Morris, Michael Lee, Brooke Singman and Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.