US Afghanistan

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2021, file photo Gen. Frank McKenzie, Commander of U.S. Central Command, appears on screen as he speaks from MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Fla., as he speaks about Afghanistan during a virtual briefing moderated by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby at the Pentagon in Washington. The Pentagon retreated from its defense of a drone strike that killed multiple civilians in Afghanistan last month, announcing Friday, Sept. 17, that an internal review revealed that only civilians were killed in the attack, not an Islamic State extremist as first believed. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon has retreated from its defense of a drone strike that killed multiple civilians in Afghanistan last month.

It announced Friday that an internal review revealed that only civilians were killed in the attack, not an Islamic State extremist as first believed. Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, called it a “tragic mistake.”

For days after the Aug. 29 strike, Pentagon officials asserted that it had been conducted correctly.

News organizations later raised doubts, reporting that the driver of the targeted vehicle was a longtime employee at an American humanitarian organization and citing an absence of evidence to support the Pentagon’s assertion that the vehicle contained explosives.

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