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Afghan drone strike victims' relatives reject US apology, condolences

Family urges global community to hold those responsible for killings of 10 innocent people accountable under international law

Shafiq Ahmad   | 18.09.2021
Afghan drone strike victims' relatives reject US apology, condolences

KABUL, Afghanistan

The relatives of 10 people killed in a drone strike in the Afghan capital last month rejected the US' "condolences and apologies," calling it a war crime and demanding justice under international law.

Zamari Ahmadi, the humanitarian worker whose vehicle was targeted inside his home in Kabul on Aug. 29, was suspected by the US military of having ties to ISIS/Daesh-Khorasan (ISIS-K).

They have not removed anything from the house since a US drone struck his vehicle with a hellfire missile, Ahmadi's uncle Mohammad Nasim told Anadolu Agency Saturday, showing the destroyed vehicles and the damaged house.

The US acknowledged on Friday that the airstrike resulted in the deaths of 10 civilians, including an aid worker and up to seven children.

"We now assess that it is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died were associated with ISIS-K, or were a direct threat to US forces," said Central Command head Gen. Frank McKenzie, who had earlier claimed that Ahmadi had connections with ISIS-K.

McKenzie offered his "profound condolences" to the victims' families, and said the attack was carried out "in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and the evacuees at the airport."

"But it was a mistake. And I offer my sincere apology. And as the combatant commander I am fully responsible for this strike and its tragic outcome," he told Pentagon reporters.

‘Unacceptable’

“This is unacceptable to us,” Nasim said in response, urging the US to “acknowledge it as a war crime.”

Since the drone attack, the US has failed to contact the family, and while it has now issued an apology, “those who were lost cannot come back, and accepting the mistake cannot be accepted,” Nasim said, urging the international community to hold those responsible for the killings of innocent people accountable under international law.

Romal Ahmadi, who lost all three of his children, including a nursing infant, as well as his brother, said, "How can this be accepted?"

The US killed innocent people, and they "should come to me and apologize and offer condolences."

His elder brother “was inside the house when a missile slammed into the vehicle, destroying everything,” he said, adding, “He doesn't feel safe in the country.”

The Pentagon is "exploring the possibility" of making reparation payments to the victims' families, and is "very interested in doing that," McKenzie said on Friday.

“Killing innocent people is a war crime,” Abdul Aziz Shoiab, a judge appointed by the Ashraf Ghani administration prior to the Taliban interim government, told Anadolu Agency. He stated that the international community could initiate a war crime case against individuals who were part of the attack on innocent people.

The strike took place three days after Daesh/ISIS-K carried out a multiple suicide bomber attack on Kabul's international airport that left over 150 people dead, including scores of Afghans seeking to flee the country following its Taliban takeover.

18.09.2021

Anadolu Agency reporter spoke to a relative of family killed in a US strike in the Afghan capital Kabul last month

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