Ns News Online Desk: The US government has offered financial compensation to the relatives of 10 people mistakenly killed by the American military in a drone strike on the Afghan capital, Kabul, in August. An aid worker and nine members of his family, including seven children, died in the strike.
The Pentagon said it was also working to help surviving members of the family relocate to the US. The strike took place days before the US military withdrew from Afghanistan.
It came amid a frenzied evacuation effort following the Taliban’s sudden return to power and only days after a devastating attack close to Kabul’s airport by IS-K, a local branch of the Islamic State (IS) group.
US intelligence had tracked the aid worker’s car for eight hours on 29 August, believing it was linked to IS-K militants, US Central Command’s Gen Kenneth McKenzie said last month.
The investigation found the man’s car had been seen at a compound associated with IS-K, and its movements aligned with other intelligence about the terror group’s plans for an attack on Kabul airport. At one point, a surveillance drone saw men loading what appeared to be explosives into the boot of the car, but these turned out to be containers of water.
Gen McKenzie described the strike as a “tragic mistake” and added that the Taliban had not been involved in the intelligence that led to the strike.
The strike happened as the aid worker – named as Zamairi Ahmadi – pulled into the driveway of his home, 3km (1.8 miles) from the airport. The explosion set off a secondary blast, which US officials initially said was proof that the car was indeed carrying explosives. However, an investigation found it was most likely caused by a propane tank in the driveway.
One of those killed, Ahmad Naser, had been a translator with US forces. Other victims had previously worked for international organizations and held visas allowing them entry to the US.The compensation offer was made on Thursday in a meeting between Colin Kahl, the under-secretary of defense for policy, and Steven Kwon, the founder and president of an aid group active in Afghanistan called Nutrition and Education International, the Pentagon said in a statement.
Mr Kahl noted Mr Ahmadi and others who were killed “were innocent victims who bore no blame and were not affiliated with ISIS-K or threats to US forces”, said a statement attributed to Defense Department spokesman John Kirby.
He reiterated Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s commitment to the families, including “condolence payments”. Mr Austin has apologized for the attack, but Mr Ahmadi’s 22-year-old nephew Farshad Haidari said that was not enough. “They must come here and apologize to us face-to-face,” he told the AFP news agency in Kabul.