Relatives of Afghans killed in mistaken raid reject US apology

The families of 10 people who were killed in a US drone strike in the Afghan capital, Kabul, last month, rejected Washington’s apology and condolences, describing what happened as a “war crime”, calling for those responsible to be held accountable under “international law.”

Among the victims who were killed in the wrong airstrike was a humanitarian worker, Zamari Ahmadi, whose car was targeted inside his home in Kabul, after the US military suspected him of links with ISIS-K.

Ahmadi’s uncle, Muhammad Naseem, told The Eastern Herald, Saturday, that “the family has not removed anything from the house since the American plane hit Ahmadi’s car, including the destroyed vehicles and the damaged house.”

On Friday, the US administration admitted that the raid carried out by its forces in Kabul at the end of last August had killed 10 civilians, including 7 children.

“We apologize for this, and I take full responsibility,” Central Command chief Kenneth McKenzie said during a press conference, describing the raid as a “tragic mistake.”

The US official indicated that the goal was to “target a vehicle that was spotted and thought to be transporting terrorists.”

“We now know that it is unlikely that the car and those who died were linked to ISIS, or were a direct threat to US forces,” he added, after he earlier claimed Ahmadi had links to ISIS.

On the same day, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin apologized, in a statement, for what he described as a “fatal mistake” due to civilian casualties following the raid, adding: “We will seek to learn from that.”

Austin emphasized that “there is no connection between Mr. Ahmadi and ISIS-K, and that he did not conduct any harmful activities that day, or activities related to the imminent threat that we thought we were facing, he was completely innocent, and he is a victim among the other victims who were tragically killed.”

** unacceptable

In response, Nassim said, “This is not acceptable to us,” calling on the United States to recognize that the airstrike was a “war crime.”

Naseem added that: “The United States has failed to contact the family since the attack, and now that it has issued an apology, the dead cannot return, and this error cannot be accepted.”

He urged the international community to hold accountable those responsible for killing innocents under international law.

With great sadness, Rumal Ahmadi, who lost his three children, including a baby, and his brother, was astonished by the raid, saying: “How can this be accepted?”

He continued, “The United States has killed innocent people, and they should come to me and apologize and offer their condolences.”

He stated that his older brother “was inside the house when a missile hit the car and destroyed everything,” adding: “I do not feel safe in this country.”

And on compensation for the victims, McKenzie said, Friday, that the Pentagon “is looking into the possibility of paying compensation to the families of the victims”, and that he is “very interested in doing so.”

In turn, Judge Abdul Aziz Shuaib, who was appointed by the administration of former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani before the “Taliban” interim government, told The Eastern Herald that “the killing of innocents is a war crime.”

He noted that the international community “can raise a case of war crimes against those who were part of the attack on innocents.”

On August 15, the Taliban announced its control of the capital, Kabul, in parallel with a US military withdrawal that was completed at the end of the same month, which prompted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to flee the country.

On August 29, the United States launched an airstrike near Kabul Airport, which it said targeted a booby-trapped vehicle with the aim of “eliminating an imminent threat” to Hamid Karzai Airport, the source of which is ISIS-Khorasan Province.

The strike took place 3 days after ISIS-Khorasan, the Afghanistan branch, carried out a suicide attack on Kabul airport, which resulted in dozens of deaths, including 13 US soldiers and 28 Taliban fighters.

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