The US military is offering “condolence payments” to a family in Afghanistan after a badly planned drone strike killed 10 civilians, including seven children, in the country’s capital in August, though did not provide any numbers.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby revealed the offer on Friday, stating that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made a “commitment” to the Akhmadi family for compensation following the August 29 drone strike, “including offering ex gratia condolence payments” and State Department assistance in relocating family members to the United States.
The offer was raised during a virtual meeting between Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl and Dr. Steven Kwon, who employed one of the Akhmadis killed in the strike at his US-based aid organization, Nutrition & Education International, long active in Afghanistan.
“Kahl noted that the strike was a tragic mistake and that Mr. Zemari Akhmadi and others who were killed were innocent victims who bore no blame and were not affiliated with ISIS-K or threats to US forces,” Kirby went on.
The Pentagon initially deemed the strike a success, claiming to have killed an Islamic State militant planning attacks on American troops in Kabul, with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley even calling it “righteous.” However, thanks in large part to a New York Times investigation that raised serious questions about the military’s narrative about the drone strike, officials were soon forced to admit the operation failed to take a single terrorist off the battlefield and instead massacred an innocent family.
READ MORE: ‘They attacked us & killed our children’: Grieving Afghan fathers demand fair investigation of US drone strike in Kabul (VIDEO)
The misidentified main target of the attack, Zemari Akhmadi, was employed as an aid worker with Nutrition & Education International for years, the Times investigation revealed. He was killed as he pulled into his driveway outside his home, with the Pentagon originally claiming he was seen loading explosives into the vehicle earlier in the day. The Times, however, obtained security footage showing Akhmadi loading jugs of water into his vehicle, suggesting the military may have mistaken them for bombs.
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