Shortly after the attack, U.S. officials asserted that a “senior Al Qaeda leader” had been killed by the Predator drone, although they offered no supporting evidence or identified the victim.
According to The Washington Post, Lotfi Hassan Misto, 56, was the victim of the strike. A U.S. official told the Post, “We are no longer confident that we killed a senior AQ official. We believe the person to be al-Qaeda,” a second U.S. official chimed in, “even though we believe the strike did not kill the original target.”
The Pentagon has kept quiet about the attack and has not disclosed any details about who their target was, if the target managed to flee, or what evidence they had that Misto was an al-Qaeda terrorist. According to Central Command spokesperson Michael Lawhorn, “Centcom takes all such allegations seriously and is investigating to determine whether or not the action may have unintentionally resulted in harm to civilians.”
In August 2021, during President Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Biden administration claimed to have “conducted a self-defense unmanned over-the-horizon airstrike today on a vehicle in Kabul, eliminating an imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamad Karzai International airport.” That incident is reminiscent of that strike.
The administration declared, “We are confident we successfully hit the target.” There was a significant amount of explosive material present, as evidenced by the vehicle’s significant secondary explosions.
But a few weeks later, the administration acknowledged that the drone strike had been a sad error that had resulted in the deaths of 10 civilians, including seven children.
The mistake made by the Biden administration is shocking and tragic. It’s another example of how drone strikes can end in terrible tragedy and raises questions about the wisdom of relying too heavily on drones for military operations.
It’s important to remember that while this particular strike was a mistake, drone strikes have been used to great effect in combat zones for decades, and were an integral part of President Obama’s successful strategy against Al-Qaida in Afghanistan. But mistakes are inevitable, and we must never forget that when we launch any kind of military operation there will be consequences, both intended and unintended.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please leave a comment below detailing how you feel about the Biden admin killing the wrong man and what you think should be done going forward with regards to drone strikes.