The head of the aid worker’s NGO said he could not understand how ‘the most powerful military in the world’ could have made such an errorDrone killing of Afghan aid worker and his family was ‘honest mistake’, finds Pentagon review
A bungled American drone strike that killed seven children and three adult civilians during US troops’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan was an honest mistake that does not require disciplinary action, a Pentagon review has concluded.
The missile attack that wrongly identifying an Afghan aid worker as an Islamic State terrorist was not the result of misconduct and did not break the law, the Pentagon said.
The strike came three days after a suicide bombing by the local branch of Islamic State group, known as Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K), killed 13 US troops and scores of Afghans trying to get into the airport to flee.
A report by Lt Gen Sami Said, the inspector general for the US Air Force, said those who conducted the attack genuinely believed “that they were targeting an imminent strike”.
“The intended target of the strike, the vehicle, its contents and occupant, were genuinely assessed at the time as an imminent threat to US forces and mission at Hamid Karzai International Airport,” the report said.
Mistakes in interpreting information and communication breakdowns contributed to the killings.
“It’s a regrettable mistake. It’s an honest mistake,” Lt Gen Said told reporters.
A review of drone video feeds had also shown evidence of a child at the site two minutes before the missile launch, he said.
Zemari Ahmadi was killed alongside nine of his relatives when a drone fired on his car.
He was employed by Nutrition and Education International, a California-based aid group, but had been wrongly identified as a suspected IS-K militant preparing an attack.
Military spotters thought they had seen him loading explosives into his car, but the objects turned out to be water containers.
Steven Kwon, the president of Nutrition and Education International, said the review findings were “deeply disappointing.”
“I do not understand how the most powerful military in the world could follow [Mr Ahmadi], an aid worker, in a commonly used car for eight hours, and not figure out who he was, and why he was at a US aid organisation’s headquarters,” he told reporters.
Air strikes by American and Nato forces killed hundreds of civilians during the course of the 20-year military campaign and helped turn many Afghans against international troops.