Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The US Still Owes Money to Relatives of Afghans Killed in Drone Strike in Kabul

Immigration News

Fidel Rahmati
Fidel Rahmati
Fidai Rahmati is the editor and content writer for Khaama Press. You may follow him at Twitter @FidelRahmati
Family members and neighbours of the Ahmadi family gather to examine the wreckage caused by a hellfire missile launched from a U.S. drone that targeted a vehicle parked inside a residential compound in the Khwaja Burgha neighbourhood in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 30, 2021. The U.S. military says that the air strike was meant to target ISIS-K militants and retaliate for an airport bombing by the terror group. Instead, it took the lives of 10 civilian members of the Emal Ahmadis family, including seven children. The U.S. would eventually call the strike a tragic mistake./Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The U.S. government promised to compensate surviving families after a drone strike that resulted in the deaths of 10 members of an Afghan family, including seven children, led to a rare Pentagon apology.

The incident, which occurred on August 29, 2021, was targeted at Zemari Ahmadi, an electrical engineer who worked for a voluntary organization with headquarters in the U.S. Ahmadi was hit by a Hellfire missile launched from an American drone as he was driving his white Toyota Corolla home from work, the Intercept reported.

Within hours of the drone strike, U.S. officials declared they had targeted the attackers and stopped the attack. However, they did not disclose any civilian casualties, despite the later revelation that intelligence analysts had seen children at the location just moments earlier. 

As family members, journalists, and Zemari’s employer-provided proof that the drone strike had the wrong target in the days that followed, U.S. officials supported the operation, which a Pentagon official termed “a righteous strike.

Following the proof provided by the family members, Zemari’s employer, the U.S. military admitted that it was a “horrible mistake” and that Zemari was innocent, not an ISIS militant.

The United States government offered to give each remaining family member $35,000, but the Ahmadis refused, claiming insufficient compensation for their losses.

Ahmadi’s family currently resides in California, having financial difficulties. They lack all three: money, employment and housing. Additionally, they find it challenging to deal with the trauma of losing many close ones.

“We have lost everything,” said Romal Ahmadi, Zemari’s brother. “We have no money, no home, and no jobs. We live in a new country and do not speak the language. We are just trying to survive.”

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