American drone pilots have leaked video of “punitive” and “nihilistic” strikes in Afghanistan in 2019 that led to the killing of civilians, including at least one child, as the US looked for an exit strategy in the two-decade war. The footage, published on Tuesday as part of an investigation by military news outlet Connecting Vets, reportedly reveals how successive US administrations and defense strategists relaxed the rules of engagement in Afghanistan – as part of a policy to pressure the Taliban to the negotiating table. However, drone operators interviewed by the outlet claimed the loosened rules around air strikes served “no point” and did not “make a difference” – with one pilot stating that it was “killing for the sake of killing.” The strikes also reportedly killed far more civilians than the Pentagon has admitted.
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