After The Washington Post and The New York Times published reports casting doubt on whether the United States correctly identified an alleged terror threat in Kabul before launching a missile strike that reportedly killed 10 civilians last month, former Deputy and Acting CIA Director Michael Morell is calling on the White House to launch its own investigation into the matter and be transparent about the findings.
U.S. Central Command previously described the strike as a success, claiming to have struck a vehicle laden with explosives that posed a threat to Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport, which, just days before, was the site of a deadly bomb attack carried out by the Islamic State amid a chaotic evacuation process following the Taliban's takeover of the city. But now it appears the driver of the vehicle, who reportedly worked for a U.S.-based aid group, may have had no connections to ISIS-K at all, and the vehicle may not have contained explosives. Morell told CBS News' Margaret Brennan on Sunday's edition of Face the Nation that he hopes the Biden administration provides a full, public explanation of "exactly what happened" and relays "if we made a mistake, why."
However, when Brennan pondered whether the fatal potential error highlights the problems associated with "over-the-horizon" capabilities — which the U.S. will focus on in anti-terror efforts in Afghanistan now that military troops are no longer on the ground — Morell replied by pointing out that this wasn't an example of the tactic, as it instead relied on assets in Afghanistan. He noted that the U.S. is still trying to figure out what its actual, long-term "over-the-horizion" strategy will look like.