The Pentagon on Tuesday discussed findings of an investigation into the August 29 airstrike in Kabul by the American military that killed 10 civilians.
US Air Force Inspector General Lt. Gen. Sami D. Said talked to reporters along with Pentagon press secretary John Kirby.
According to Said, the unmanned aerial vehicle operators and intelligence analysts had been monitoring multiple threat streams on that day, as three days before the drone strike a suicide bomber killed 13 US soldiers and many Afghan evacuees outside Kabul airport.
He said the drone operators and intelligence analysts believed the strike on the vehicle was a legitimate defensive action designed to prevent an attack and they did not realize children were in the area.
"You can imagine the stress on the force is high, and the risk to force is high and not appreciating what I'm about to say through that lens I think would be inappropriate," he said.
"Individuals involved in the strike interviewed during this investigation truly believed at the time that they were targeting an imminent threat to US forces," he said. "Regrettably, the interpretation or the correlation of the intelligence to what was being perceived at the time in real time was inaccurate."
According to Said, their investigation found no violation of law, including the law of war. He added that there were execution errors that led to civilian casualties.
"I had the luxury of time to review that data over weeks; they didn't," he said. "They had the same data, but they had to assimilate it, digest it, and make a decision in a matter of hours."
Among the 10 killed, seven of them were children.