U.S. Department of Defense to compensate families of innocent drone strike victims erroneously targeted as ISIS-K terrorists

On Friday, the Pentagon said it would provide condolence payments to the relatives of the civilians killed in the strike.

U.S. Department of Defense to compensate families of innocent drone strike victims erroneously targeted as ISIS-K terrorists
AP Photo/Khwaja Tawfiq Sediqi, File
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The U.S. Department of Defense says it is working to provide compensation to the relatives of the 10 innocent Afghan civilians who were killed in a drone strike in the final days of America’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Following a terrorist bombing at Kabul airport, which claimed the lives of 13 U.S. service members and over 170 civilians, the Biden administration's Department of Defense performed a retaliatory strike against what it thought were ISIS-K militants responsible for staging the attack.

As the New York Times reported in September, the drone strike in Kabul was based on unreliable intelligence that misidentified a car, that turned out to belong to a civilian. The paper reported:

Thirty-six hours before the strike, intelligence analysts and drone operators at a base in Qatar were sifting through more than 60 specific pieces of intelligence — some conflicting, some mutually reinforcing — related to an imminent ISIS attack, according to Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the commander of the military’s Central Command.

The group, called the Over-the-Horizon Strike Cell, was created in early July to track and disrupt plots in Afghanistan by Al Qaeda or the Islamic State that threatened the U.S. homeland. After the sudden Taliban takeover of the country, the cell began focusing on ISIS threats against the thousands of American troops at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul who were helping tens of thousands of Afghans flee the country.

Just before 9 o’clock, Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime worker for a U.S. aid group, wheeled his white 1996 Toyota Corolla in front of the safe house the Americans were watching. Two men got out of the car, met with another man at the safe house, took a bag from him and returned to the car. Mr. Ahmadi drove off.

Eight hours later, a Hellfire missile slammed into the sedan, killing Mr. Ahmadi and nine other people in what American officials now acknowledge was a tragic case of mistaken identity.

On Friday, the Pentagon said it would provide condolence payments to the relatives of the civilians killed in the strike. The payments were discussed in a virtual meeting on Thursday between Dr. Colin Kahl, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and Steven Kwon, founder, and president of the nonprofit group Nutrition & Education International— the charity that employed Zemari Ahmadi, the civilian aid worker who was killed in the blast, the New York Times reported.

Ahmadi’s brother, Emal Ahmadi, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that he’s still waiting for an apology and compensation from the United States weeks after the Pentagon admitted the error, and said it would explore compensation for the family. By Saturday, Emal said he had still not heard from any government officials.

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  • By Ezra Levant

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