U.S. Vows to Pay Families of Afghans Killed in Drone Strike

Afghan residents and family members of the victims gather next to a damaged vehicle inside a house, after a US drone strike which they say went wrong in Kabul
AFP

The United States Defense Department announced Friday it is committed to giving condolence payments to the families of the individuals killed during an errant U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, which occurred in August.

“Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that the Defense Department was also working with the State Department to help surviving family members relocate to the United States,” the Associated Press (AP) reported Saturday.

Vaccine National Guard Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon (AP Photo/Alex Brandon).

According to Kirby, the issue was brought up during a meeting Thursday with Dr. Colin Kahl, under secretary of defense for policy, and Dr. Steven Kwon, founder and president of nonprofit organization Nutrition & Education International.

“Dr. Kahl reiterated Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s commitment to the families, including offering ex gratia condolence payments,” Kirby noted, but did not state how much money the U.S. would offer them.

The AP report continued:

On Aug. 29, a U.S. Hellfire missile struck a car driven by Zemerai Ahmadi, who had just pulled into the driveway of the Ahmadi family compound. In all, 10 members of the family, including seven children, were killed in the strike. Weeks later, Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, called the strike a “tragic mistake” and said innocent civilians were indeed killed in the attack.

In September, Afghan survivors of the strike said an apology was not enough and demanded accountability, according to Breitbart News.

“That is not enough for us to say sorry,” stated Ahmadi’s brother, Emal. “The U.S.A. should find the person who did this.”

At the meeting on Thursday, Kwon told Kahl that Ahmadi had worked with NEI for years, “providing care and lifesaving assistance for people facing high mortality rates in Afghanistan,” Kirby noted.

The drone strike came after a suicide bombing that killed 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. servicemembers at a gate to the Kabul airport.

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