US to make condolence payments to families of Afghans killed in botched drone strike
The US pledged to make “ex gratia condolence payments” to the families of 10 Afghan civilians who were killed in a botched drone strike initially said to have targeted ISIS members in Afghanistan in August, the Pentagon said.
The Pentagon added that it will work with the State Department to help Afghan family members who wanted to relocate to the US.
The announcement came after US officials met the head of a California-based aid organization that employed Zemari Ahmadi, the Afghan man who was targeted and killed in the August 29 drone attack.
Ahmadi and the nine other civilians – including seven children – who were killed in the strike were blameless and had no affiliation with the ISIS terrorist group, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said.
“[The US undersecretary of defense for policy] noted that the strike was a tragic mistake and that Mr. Zemari Ahmadi and others who were killed were innocent victims, who bore no blame and were not affiliated with ISIS-K or threats to US forces,” Kirby said.
The Pentagon had initially billed the drone strike as a hit against ISIS-K in Afghanistan in retaliation for the ISIS bombing at Kabul airport which killed over a 100 Afghans and 13 US servicemen.
Soon afterwards, reports emerged that the drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians – including Ahmadi, a longtime employee of the US-based aid group.
The Pentagon later acknowledged that the strike was a “tragic mistake”.