On Tuesday, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul questioned Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the identities of those recently killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan, demanding to know if the primary target was a terrorist or an aid worker. Blinken responded, “I don’t know.”
“The guy the Biden administration droned: was he an aid worker or an ISIS-K operative?” Paul asked Blinken during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
“The administration is, of course, reviewing that strike, and I’m sure that a full assessment will be –,” Blinken responded before being interrupted by Paul, who asked a clarifying question. A clip of the hearing was shared by Aaron Rupar on Twitter.
“So you don’t know if it was an aid worker or an ISIS-K operative?” Paul asked.
“I can’t speak to that and I can’t speak to that in this setting in any event,” Blinken responded.
“So you don’t know, or won’t tell us?” Paul asked.
“I don’t know because we’re reviewing it,” Blinken said.
“See, you think you’d kinda know before you off somebody with a predator drone, whether he’s an aid worker or he’s an ISIS-K,” Paul remarked.
“This isn’t just you. It’s been going on for administration after administration,” Paul continued. “The Obama administration droned hundreds and hundreds of people. And the thing is, there is blowback to that.”
On September 1, Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff, said “at least one of those people that were killed was an ISIS facilitator, the Washington Examiner reported.
“At this point, we think that the procedures were correctly followed and it was a righteous strike,” he added at the Pentagon.
Afghans from the area of the strike told journalists that the drone attack killed multiple members of one family who was applying to be evacuated to the United States out of fear of Taliban retribution for previously helping a U.S.-based aid group.
“I have no hope left. All of my family members were killed yesterday,” one of the surviving relatives told the Daily Beast. “I have no one to cry to. I lost my niece, nephews, cousins, my own family members. I want justice.”
After the attack, the U.S. military claimed the drone strike was on an Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group target.
In an emailed statement to American Military News, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman Bill Urban said, “U.S. military forces conducted an over-the-horizon counterterrorism operation today against an ISIS-K planner. The unmanned airstrike occurred in the Nangahar Province of Afghanistan. Initial indications are that we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualties.”