Pentagon Announces They Will Pay, Relocate Relatives of Afghans Killed in Drone Strike

Posted: Oct 16, 2021 1:00 PM
Pentagon Announces They Will Pay, Relocate Relatives of Afghans Killed in Drone Strike

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The Pentagon announced that they have offered condolence payments and relocation assistance to the family of the 10 Afghans that were killed during the August drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan.

A virtual meeting was held Thursday between Colin Kahl, under secretary of defense for policy, and Steven Kwon, founder and president of the nonprofit group Nutrition & Education International, the organization that employed Zemari Ahmadi, one of the victims of the drone strike.

Kahl noted in the meeting that the strike was a "tragic mistake" and that Ahmadi and his family were "innocent victims who bore no blame and were not affiliated with ISIS-K or threats to U.S. forces," Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a Friday statement to Townhall.

"Dr. Kahl reiterated Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s commitment to the families, including offering ex gratia condolence payments, in addition to working with the State Department in support of Mr. Ahmadi’s family members who are interested in relocation to the United States," Kirby said in his statement.

Kirby's statement Friday did not disclose the amount of money that would be offered as part of the condolence payments.

On Aug. 29, U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Urban said in a statement that the U.S. had carried out an airstrike on an "imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamad Karzai International airport." They claimed the strike was successful at the time.

However, later reporting found that the vehicle targeted was being driven by Ahmadi, a U.S. aid worker who had just pulled into the driveway of his family's compound. A total of 10 family members, including seven children, were killed in the strike.

U.S. Central Command head Gen. Frank McKenzie announced in mid-September that an investigation concluded that the drone strike was "a tragic mistake."

"I am now convinced that as many as 10 civilians, including up to seven children, were tragically killed in that strike," McKenzie said at the time. "Moreover, we analyzed that it is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died were associated with ISIS-K or were a direct threat to U.S. forces."

During Thursday's meeting, Kwon told Kahl that Ahmadi had worked with NEI for many years, "providing care and lifesaving assistance for people facing high mortality rates in Afghanistan," according to Kirby's statement.

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