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US drone strike in Afghanistan gets new scrutiny from NYT

CM 11/09/2021


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A New York Times investigation into a US drone strike that came just before the last American troops left Afghanistan has brought to light new and disturbing details about the killing of a family. US Senator Chris Murphy slammed the news, saying on Twitter, “If this is true, it is a tragic example of how much human and political damage our drones strikes have done. Imagine this mistake x1000.”

Journalist Evan Hill, of the New York Times Visual Investigations team, tweeted about the new findings on Friday. “The final act of the U.S. war in Afghanistan was a drone strike in Kabul that killed 10 people. Our latest investigation shows how a man the military saw as an ‘imminent threat’ and ‘ISIS facilitator’ was actually an aid worker returning to his family.”
The drone strike took place at the end of August, just days after an alleged ISIS bomber killed more than 100 people in Kabul, including 13 US soldiers. However, it’s unclear what the US knew about the man in the truck when it was struck by a hellfire missile fired from a US Reaper drone, according to the reports.
“The military said it believed Zemari Ahmadi’s white Toyota Corolla, which it tracked by drone for eight hours that day, was packed with explosives. Security camera video we obtained showed him loading it with water containers for his home. I’ll detail our findings in this thread,” Hill noted.
The US has shown no evidence that the man in the truck was doing anything nefarious. The US also hasn’t released the names of ISIS “planners” it said it killed in the wake of the ISIS attack. The man killed doesn’t seem to fit the profile of an extremist. He had applied for refugee resettlement with his family and he wanted US protection.

 A screen grab shows people outside a hospital after an attack at Kabul airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan August 26, 2021. (credit: REUTERS TV/via REUTERS) A screen grab shows people outside a hospital after an attack at Kabul airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan August 26, 2021. (credit: REUTERS TV/via REUTERS)

“Ahmadi was a 14-year employee of Nutrition and Education International, a U.S. NGO that fights malnutrition. He helped start up soy factories, repair machinery, transport his colleagues and distribute food from his Corolla to displaced Afghans,” Hill wrote. He was killed on August 29 by the drone. Members of his family were killed as well, including children, locals said.
Why did this happen? “The decision to strike does not flow down the typical chain of command. Because of the chaos of the Kabul airport evacuation, an official told us, President Biden and the military have delegated the authority to approve airstrikes to lower-level commanders,” Hill added.
This extraordinary tale illustrates how militaries can strike and kill whole families seemingly with impunity. This has been the case in drone strikes by other NATO members, such as Turkey, which often bombards civilians in Iraq and Syria.
The disturbing questions raised by the drone strike on the family compound include how it’s possible the US fought a 20-year War on Terror and still makes these kinds of mistakes. It also is not clear how, after decades of newspapers reporting on the War on Terror, the US feels that it doesn’t need to even provide the names of supposed “terrorists” it has targeted. This illustrates that there is still a profound feeling of impunity when it comes to shadowy drone wars.
There is little recourse for Afghans or others to take when they are caught up in these strikes. They don’t have a way to prove their innocence or receive any compensation. They can’t even know why these mistakes, which can kill whole families, are made. Drone strikes and modern technology are supposed to make war more precise and help avoid these kinds of attacks. In the case of the strike in Kabul, it remains to be seen if the US will provide any details on why this man and his family were targeted.

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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