The Department of Defense confirmed that no military personnel involved with the botched Aug. 29 drone strike in Afghanistan will be punished.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Monday that senior leaders have reviewed the investigation and the subsequent recommendations, which were “more about procedure and process” and less about punishment.


“None of their recommendations dealt specifically with issues of accountability,” Kirby explained. “So, I do not anticipate there being issues of personal accountability to be had with respect to the Aug. 29 airstrike.”

The drone strike targeted Zemari Ahmadi, an aid worker who did not have ties to terrorists. He, seven children, and two other adults died in the strike.

At the time the drone strike was launched, the United States was conducting a noncombatant emergency operation at the end of its 20-year-long Afghan War. Just days earlier, an ISIS-K terrorist detonated an explosive, killing 13 U.S. service members and nearly 200 people outside the airport where the U.S. was evacuating the at-risk Afghans and other nationals who wanted to escape following the Taliban’s rise to power.

President Joe Biden and multiple Defense officials spoke about the possibility of a second attack at the time.

U.S. Air Force Inspector General Lt. Gen. Sami Said investigated the strike and concluded there were no illegalities with the strike, and Secretary Lloyd Austin has signed off on it.

His recommendations were more procedural in nature than about consequences, indicating his finding that the strike was not intentional but a tragic error.

Kirby noted that Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, and Gen. Richard Clarke, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, agreed with Said’s findings and recommendations.

“What we saw here was a breakdown in process, execution, and procedural events,” he explained. “It was not the result of negligence, misconduct, or poor leadership.”

“The recommendations were more about procedure and process and the secretary reviewed them and has accepted them,” Kirby added. “And again, most of them are of a classified nature. ... but there was no overt recommendation made by either specific to accountability and any punishment for anyone.”


Ahmadi's family remains in Afghanistan despite their requests to come to the U.S. Kirby has said Austin is supportive of evacuating his remaining family members and of making ex gratia payments but would not comment on the details of the conversations between DOD and Nutrition and Education International, the aid organization that employed Ahmadi.

The ACLU is representing NEI in the discussions and it, too, has declined to provide details about the conversations to the Washington Examiner.