The Pentagon has made specific condolence payments to the families of ten Afghan civilians killed in a botched US drone assault in August, just days before American soldiers departed from the country.
The US Department of Defense stated that it made a commitment that included “ex-gratia condolence payments” as well as working with the US Department of State to assist family members who wanted to relocate to the US.
According to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, US under-secretary of defense for policy Colin Kahl held a virtual meeting on Thursday with Steven Kwon, the founder and president of Nutrition & Education International, the aid organization that employed Zemari Ahmadi, who was killed in the August 29 drone attack.
Ahmadi and others killed in the drone strike were unwitting victims who had no responsibility and were not linked to the Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP (ISIS-K), or posed a threat to US forces, according to Kirby.
Ten civilians, including seven children, were murdered in a drone strike in Kabul.
The Pentagon had previously stated that the August 29 attack was directed at an ISKP suicide bomber who posed a serious threat to US-led soldiers at the airport as they finished the final phases of their departure from Afghanistan.
However, reports came almost immediately that the bomb killed civilians, including children, in a neighborhood west of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport.
The debris of an automobile was strewn about the courtyard of a building, according to video from the scene. The raid was later described as a “tragic blunder” by the Pentagon.
After US-trained Afghan forces melted away and the Taliban surged to power in the capital in mid-August, an ISKP suicide bomber killed 13 US servicemen and dozens of Afghan civilians who had gathered outside the airport gates, begging for places on evacuation planes.
Lloyd Austin, the Secretary of Defense, has apologized for the disastrous strike. Farshad Haidari, Ahmadi’s 22-year old nephew, claimed thatold nephew, claimed that wasn’t enough.
“They must come here and apologise to us face-to-face,” he told the AFP news agency in a bombed-out, modest house in Kwaja Burga, a densely populated neighbourhood in Kabul.”
On September 18, Haidari, whose brother Naser and young cousins were also killed in the blast, stated the US has made no direct contact with the family.
The assassination of civilians has also sparked concerns about the future of US drone strikes in Afghanistan.