Afghan Drone Strike Survivors Angry U.S. Troops Won’t Be Punished, Still Await Relocation

BY ERIN BRADY ON 12/14/21 Pentagon: U.S. Drone Attack That Killed 10 In Kabul Was A ‘Mistake’

The survivors of a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan are upset that the troops involved in killing ten of their family members will not be punished.

Three of Zemerai Ahmadi’s brothers spoke on Tuesday about the devastating strike that occurred on August 29. They also revealed that the U.S. still has yet to contact them regarding compensation or relocation out of Afghanistan. They believe that they were qualified for evacuation due to Ahmadi being an employee of an American humanitarian organization.

“We have heard nothing,” said Ahmadi’s youngest brother Emal. “The longer it takes, the more dangerous it is for us.”

The family has been campaigning for those responsible in the strike to be adequately punished. However, chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Monday that no recommendations for discipline will be given toward the U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command generals who authorized the strike. When asked about this decision, brother Romal said that he wants the troops behind the attack to feel the pain he feels.

“America is a superpower,” he said. “We are powerless to do anything so we leave it to God to punish them.”

Ahmadi was killed in the strike, along with 9 other family members. Among the deceased in the strike include Romal’s three young children and Emal’s three-year-old daughter.

Aimal Ahmadi
Aimal Ahmadi, whose daughter Malika and his elder brother Zimarai Ahmadi were among 10 relatives killed by a wrongly-directed US drone strike on August 29, stands outside his house in Kabul on December 14, 2021.PHOTO BY WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

The strike that killed Ahmadi and his family members came following the Taliban takeover of the country in mid-August.NEWSWEEK SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS >

It also came just days after an Islamic State group suicide bomber killed 13 U.S. troops and 169 Afghans at a Kabul airport gate. U.S. forces believed that the car they were following was an imminent threat and decided to strike.

Kirby said the U.S. was still ready to pay financial compensation to the Ahmadis and potentially get them out of Afghanistan. Asked why it was taking so long, Kirby said the U.S. wanted it done as safely as possible.

For the Ahmadis, every day they remain in Kabul puts them at risk. Rumor on the street has it that the U.S. has already paid them and criminals are eager to get their hands on the money, said Emal.

They are also getting phone threats, he added. The callers threaten to kill them if they don’t give them money.READ MORE

At the time of the strike, the U.S. was working to evacuate thousands of Americans, Afghans and other allies in the wake of the Afghan government’s collapse.

For weeks after and despite mounting evidence that the U.S. had wrongly killed the 10 Ahmadis, the Pentagon maintained it had taken out a potential Islamic State operative. It wasn’t until mid-September that U.S. Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, called the strike a “tragic mistake” and said that innocent civilians were indeed killed in the attack.

The Pentagon review subsequently found there were breakdowns in communication in the process of identifying and confirming the target of the bombing.

“My children are all gone. No one can bring them back,” Romal said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ahmadi Brothers
Aimal Ahmadi, left, a brother of Zemerai Ahmadi, who was one of ten family members who was killed in an errant U.S. drone strike in August, speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at the Ahmadi family home, in Kabul, Afghanistan on December 14, 2021. The Afghan survivors of the U.S. drone strike said Tuesday they are frustrated and saddened by a decision that no U.S. troops involved in the strike would face disciplinary action.AP PHOTO/KHWAJA TAWFIQ SEDIQI


Leave a Reply