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HomeNewsFamily, colleagues of Afghan aid worker killed in U.S. strike one year...

Family, colleagues of Afghan aid worker killed in U.S. strike one year ago not yet in U.S., lawyer says

Greater than a 12 months after a mistaken U.S. drone strike killed Afghan support employee Zemari Ahmadi and 9 members of his household, only a handful of his kin and colleagues have been relocated to the U.S., says an lawyer for the nonprofit group that employed Ahmadi.

Within the 12 months for the reason that tragic strike, the Protection Division and the Biden administration have vowed quite a few instances to compensate the household and assist any relations wishing to go away Afghanistan and resettle within the U.S.

Brett Max Kaufman, an lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union who represents Diet & Training Worldwide of California, or NEI, which employed Ahmadi for 15 years, mentioned 11 Afghans have made it to the U.S. out of a complete of 144 relations and colleagues who’ve been attempting to go away for the reason that lethal strike on Aug. 29, 2021. Roughly 100 are kin of Ahmadi’s, whereas the remainder are different staff of NEI and their households, Kaufman mentioned.

Greater than 100 of the help staff and their households have been in a position to flee Afghanistan, Kaufman mentioned, which two U.S. protection officers confirmed. About 40 are in Albania, and others have gone to Kosovo and Qatar, however they’re all awaiting motion to the U.S. Thirty-two Afghans within the group have been unable to flee the nation, the officers mentioned.

A person bids farewell to Zemari Ahmadi in his casket at a mass funeral on Aug. 30, 2021, for members of a household who have been killed in a U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan.Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Occasions by way of Getty Photographs file

Among the Afghans made it out on constitution flights to transit nations, however these require passports and documentation, which limits who can fly. A minimum of one group escaped by driving out by way of Pakistan, however a second group that attempted the identical route was turned again on the border, Kaufman mentioned.

A spokesperson for the Pentagon declined to offer specifics in regards to the case, saying in a press release: “The Division of Protection, in coordination with different U.S. Authorities departments and businesses proceed to take steps to reply to the August 29, 2021 airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan. To guard the privateness of the relations, in addition to to assist defend their security and safety, we’re not in a position to present extra data relating to these efforts presently.”

The protection officers couldn’t say whether or not any relations have acquired the condolence funds the Biden administration promised.

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‘I’m totally accountable’

The drone strike got here three days after a suicide bomb assault by Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-Ok, the militant group’s Afghan affiliate, killed 13 U.S. service members and greater than 100 Afghan civilians at Kabul’s airport. Tensions have been excessive because the U.S. army braced for an additional assault after U.S. intelligence warned that ISIS-Ok was plotting to hit the airport once more, this time utilizing a white Toyota Corolla.

The U.S. army initially defended the strike. On Sept. 1, 2021, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers, Gen. Mark Milley, mentioned the strike killed no less than one ISIS facilitator, and he pointed to “secondary explosions” as proof that explosives have been within the automobile. He mentioned procedures have been adopted, and he known as it “a righteous strike.”

Caskets for the useless are carried towards the gravesite as kin and mates mourn these killed in a U.S. drone strike on Aug. 30, 2021.Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Occasions by way of Getty Photographs file

Later that month, the commander of U.S. Central Command on the time mentioned additional evaluation confirmed that the strike truly killed civilians and that it was “a mistake.”

“This strike was taken within the earnest perception that it will forestall an imminent risk to our forces and the evacuees on the airport, however it was a mistake,” Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie mentioned. “Because the combatant commander, I’m totally liable for this strike and its tragic end result.”

A Pentagon evaluation later discovered that U.S. army surveillance could have misinterpreted data, with the water canisters Ahmadi loaded and unloaded in his Corolla being mistaken for explosives. Ahmadi’s automobile was noticed by the U.S. and assessed to be an imminent risk to the airport, about 1.8 miles away.

A number of points, together with affirmation bias and communication breakdowns, led to the mistaken drone strike, the evaluation concluded. U.S. army video launched with the evaluation confirmed Ahmadi parking the Corolla at his home and a younger boy operating out to greet him simply because the explosives hit. Seven of these killed have been youngsters, the youngest a 2-year-old lady.

The U.S. army evaluation discovered that the incident didn’t violate any legal guidelines of struggle, however it left choices about punishment as much as the army management. The 2 senior commanders on the time, McKenzie at Centcom and Military Gen. Richard Clarke, who was then the commander of U.S. Particular Operations Command, each really helpful no punishment for the troops concerned. Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin agreed.

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