The US has offered unspecified condolence payments to the families of the 10 innocent civilians who were killed in a botched US drone attack in Afghanistan. The said attack was carried out in August during the final days of the hurried American troop withdrawal from the country.
The US Department of Defense said that it has decided to offer “ex-gratia condolence payments”. The Pentagon said that it will also work with the US Department of State to facilitate the relocation of the family members of the victims to the US if they wished so.
Innocent victims were not ISKP affiliates
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said that the US under-secretary of defence for policy Colin Kahl held a virtual meeting with the founder and president of Nutrition & Education International Steven Kwon earlier on Thursday. One of the victims of the aid organisation Zemari Ahmadi was killed in the August 29 drone attack.
Kirby said that Ahmadi and others who were killed in the drone raid were innocent victims who bore no blame and that they were not affiliated with Islamic State in Khorasan Province, ISKP, or posed any threats to US forces.
The drone raid in Kabul killed as many as 10 civilians, including seven children.
Earlier, the Pentagon had said that the August 29 attack targeted an ISKP suicide bomber who posed an imminent threat to US-led troops at the airport as they completed the last stages of their withdrawal from Afghanistan.
However, reports had emerged almost immediately that the attack in a neighbourhood west of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport had killed civilians, including children.
At the time, a video from the scene showed the wreckage of a car sprinkled around the courtyard of a building. The Pentagon later said the raid was a “tragic mistake”.
The attack came three days after an ISKP suicide bomber killed 13 US troops and dozens of Afghan civilians who had crowded outside the airport gates, desperate to secure seats on evacuation flights after US-trained Afghan forces withered away and the Taliban swept to power in the capital in mid-August.
“Apologise to us face-to-face”
Later, the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin apologised for the botched attack. However, Ahmadi’s 22-year-old nephew Farshad Haidari said that was not enough.
Living in a bombed-out, modest house in Kwaja Burga, a densely populated neighbourhood in Kabul, Haidari said, “They must come here and apologise to us face-to-face.”
Haidari, whose brother Naser and young cousins also died in the blast, said on September 18 that the US had made no direct contact with the family.