The US military could have made a mistake when launching a drone strike that targeted a car of an ISIS member on his road to hit the Kabul airport. According to the investigation by The New York Times, which included the analysis of videos from the spot and interviews with colleagues and relatives of the deceased driver, the victim was a usual Afghan employee of a U.S aid group.
On August 29, following the attacks at the Kabul airport, the U.S. strike reportedly targeted a vehicle of an ISIS suicide bomber who was going to attack Kabul airport. The claim was made by the Taliban and was later confirmed by US defense sources, who went on to reveal that the vehicle was rigged with explosives. Afghan sources reported that the US strike hit Kabul’s PD-15 district which is located only a few kilometers to the north of the airport.
“We are confident we successfully hit the target. Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material. We are assessing the possibilities of civilian casualties, though we have no indications at this time. We remain vigilant for potential future threats.” the US Central Command said in a statement.
The U.S. military said the drone strike might have killed three civilians. Later, Afghan sources reported that the victims were a family of six, including kids.
On September 10, the NYT published its new investigation that claimed that the driver of the targeted car was 43-year-old Zemari Ahmadi. He has worked as an electrical engineer in the American non-profit organization Nutrition & Education International since 2006. 10 more civilians were killed in the explosion, including seven children, the NYT added.
According to the NYT, Ahmadi was carrying out work assignments and traveling around Kabul, delivering his colleagues. Ahmadi’s relatives and colleagues claimed that he was not linked to ISIS and was riding on business on August 29.
His car attracted the attention of the US military, when he loaded several canisters into the car. According to US officials, they intercepted contacts between the driver and the ISIS. However, according to his relatives, he was loading water to take it home.
The drone hit Ahmadi’s car near his house not far from the Kabul airport.
In response to the NYT report, the Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that the US Armed Forces continue the investigation of the consequences of the strike and he would not unveil any details until its official publication. John Kirby added that no other army works as hard as the U.S. one to prevent civilian casualties.
The U.S. launched two strikes in response to the attacks in Kabul the last days of the U.S. withdrawal from the country. Explosion at the Kabul airport left 13 American servicemen and dozens of Afghans dead. The U.S. had to respond fast in an attempt to demonstrate that the withdrawal was not a complete failure and that U.S. forces at least could respond to the attacks on their soldiers.
This raised the risk of a mistake, as well as the suspicion up to the suggestions that the strikes were staged.
Despite claiming the neutralization of ISIS top planers, the U.S. military is yet to identify the victims of their response drone strikes.
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- In Photos: Victims And Aftermath Of U.S. Strike
- Family Of Six Massacred In Recent US Airstrike On Afghanistan’s Kabul (Photos)
- US ‘Military Strike’ Hit Kabul As Remaining American Troops Prepare To Withdraw (Videos)