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Will US drone strikes face greater scrutiny after Afghanistan withdrawal?

CM 30/08/2021


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The US has been accused of killing nine members of a family in a drone strike in Afghanistan. The strike was the second drone attack on what the US said were ISIS-K members linked to threats against American soldiers in Kabul.
It was not clear if the US assessment that it killed both ISIS planners of an attack and struck a vehicle carrying an ISIS bomber was accurate. Reports now indicate one drone strike may have led to civilian casualties.
The US relied on drones heavily in Afghanistan over the years, especially under the Obama administration. The Trump administration reduced the use of drones as it sought accommodation with the Taliban.

The Biden administration appears to have reduced armed-drone attacks to near-zero. The claims that civilians were killed in Kabul are being investigated, according to US Central Command.
The Taliban, with which the US has been coordinating in Kabul since mid-August, condemned the airstrikes. This presents a complex new turn of events for Washington, whereby groups such as the Taliban, which the US has been awkwardly working with, now want America’s impunity to end.
The US has generally had a legalistic narrative for its right to engage in attacks in places such as Afghanistan. While it may appear the US is just a global hegemon, occasionally behaving at times like a gorilla throwing its drones around, it actually has a very tailored excuse for its global war on terrorism and various principles that guide its approach to fighting groups such as ISIS or al-Qaeda.
That means, for instance, that the US is in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government. The US is in Syria fighting ISIS and backing the Syrian Democratic Forces. But Iraq could ask the US to leave.
 TALIBAN FORCES stand guard inside Kabul earlier this month. (credit: REUTERS) TALIBAN FORCES stand guard inside Kabul earlier this month. (credit: REUTERS)
The US also has launched drone strikes in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan. However, it appears many of these clandestine campaigns have been reduced in recent years. Somalia may be a standout. The US still does some operations there, but they are rare.
Now there is an increased spotlight on these drone strikes. Whereas the Obama and Trump administrations were estimated to have carried out thousands of strikes, including some that killed civilians, there was very little civilians could do to get any compensation.
Court cases usually didn’t go anywhere. Attempts to pressure the US to take people off kill lists, such as the one that led to the targeting killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, have gone nowhere.
So what comes next? Turkey may play an increased role, alongside Qatar, in post-America Afghanistan. Qatar has generally played both sides, backing the Taliban and hosting refugees from the Taliban flown to Doha by the US.
“US soldiers shot and killed civilians in a panic after last week’s deadly blast by Daesh/ISIS-K near Hamid Karzai International Airport in the Afghan capital Kabul, said a spokesman for the Taliban, which captured the city and most of Afghanistan earlier this month,” Turkey’s state-backed Anadolu News Agency reported.
“A report we got indicated that the US soldiers opened fire on the crowd following the attack at Kabul Airport. There were many people. Therefore, civilians – including women and children – lost their lives,” Zabihullah Mujahid told Anadolu, the report said, quoting the Taliban spokesman.
This means it looks like some key Turkish media outlets will be more critical of US impunity to carry out drone strikes. Some have also wondered where the US got intelligence on the alleged whereabouts of ISIS-K members days after an ISIS attack killed 13 US marines and soldiers and more than 100 Afghans. Did the Taliban pass on some information?
The Taliban released ISIS members from prison during the August blitzkrieg that brought its forces to Kabul. Is it possible that in the wake of the CIA director’s meeting with the Taliban that the organization is coordinating on various levels with the US?
That question must loom over how Taliban security failed to stop a suicide bomber from attacking US Marines and soldiers.
We won’t know how the US got intelligence on the alleged ISIS planners or the supposed suicide vest inside a vehicle that was targeted by a drone, which reports say flew from the UAE, hours away.
What is clear is that there are now many questions about whether civilians were killed this month and whether more focus will be put on US drone strikes if the US continues to hit ISIS in Afghanistan after August 31, when the US is supposed to finally withdraw from the 20-year war. 

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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