Afghan family awaits justice for US drone strikes that kill 10 of its members

Afghan family awaits justice for US drone strikes that kill 10 of its members

The U.S. military said a series of offenses led to the attack, which killed at least 10 people. (representative)


An Afghan family that lost 10 members, including seven children, in a mistaken American drone attack on a home in Kabul says it is still seeking justice and has not yet heard from the Americans more than two months after the tragedy.

The US military has said a series of errors led to the attack, which should have been aimed at an ISIS suicide bomber who poses an imminent threat to US-led troops at Kabul airport.

The man, the victim, Zamarai Ahmadi, actually worked for the US-based NGO Nutrition and Education International (NEI). U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called Ahmadi’s activities “harmless,” and the Pentagon said they were considering compensation.

“Justice should be done,” Ajmal Ahmadi, Zamarai’s younger brother, told Reuters at the family home, which was hit by a Hellfire missile fired by a US drone on August 29.

“They (the United States) promised that they would take them (those involved in the strike) to court … They promised compensation … they promised that they would take us out (of Afghanistan),” Ajmal added.

Speaking in the crowded residential area near Kabul airport – recently the scene of a chaotic evacuation of thousands of people fleeing the Taliban – he also expressed disappointment that they had not yet heard from US officials.

Lieutenant Colonel Santiago, spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said it was taking steps to respond to the air strike.

“In order to protect the privacy of their family members, as well as to help protect their safety and security, we are unable to provide more information about these efforts at this time,” Santiago said.

The Pentagon has previously said it is considering paying condolences to the family and will work with the State Department to relocate to U.S. family members wishing to leave the country.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which represents the NO, called on Washington to act.

“Surviving family members have repeatedly called for meaningful transparency and accountability for the wrongful killing of their loved ones, but they did not receive it from the Pentagon investigation,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project.

“Affected family members and NEI employees are at high risk as a result of the actions of the U.S. government and must be evacuated immediately.”


The drone strike came days after an ISIS suicide bomber killed 13 U.S. soldiers and dozens of Afghan civilians near the airport gates, desperate to secure seats on evacuation flights.

On August 15, Taliban insurgents entered the capital and seized power with barely a fight after US-trained Afghan forces melted away.

Last week, an investigation by the U.S. military inspector general said that although the attack was a mistake, it was not a case of criminal negligence and that disciplinary action was not recommended.

The errors did not include noticing the presence of a child minutes before the strike took place.

The child was one of several who were in the area when the missile hit and destroyed an entire family. It killed Zamarai and three of his children – Zameer, 20, Faysal, 16, and Farzad, 12.

Two of Zamarai’s brothers also lost their children: Arveen, seven, bin Yameen, six, Malika, three, along with Ayat and Sumaya, who both had two years. Their sister’s child, 28, who was visiting, was also killed.

The family is struggling to come to terms with what happened.

“Even the sandals that were burned, we have kept them,” Ajmal said, adding that women in the family are still hugging and kissing the charred shoes. “They (the women) are in a bad state.”

The family has moved out of the house because the stay there evoked too many memories for the remaining ones.

The surviving children, Ajmal said, often asked the adults to take them to visit the graves of their siblings and cousins.

Seven-year-old Ada never misses an opportunity to visit the cemetery where her little sister Malika is buried.

She sits at the grave and prays and cleans the dust of the epitaph, which reads, “I ask, ‘why did you go, it was not our destiny’ – they say, ‘what can we do, destiny is like this’.”


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