Explosive claims have emerged suggesting that the U.S. killed an aid worker during the drone strike after mistaking him for an ISIS-K suicide bomber. Zemari Ahmadi was working with a U.S. based aid group in Afghanistan, according to reports.
The U.S. carried out the drone strike on August 29 to avenge the death of 13 military persons killed in the deadly blasts at Kabul. Following the strike, the Pentagon had claimed to have killed two 'high-profile' ISIS-K operatives who plotted the Kabul airport blast, in a drone strike.
Ahmadi Worked as technical Engineer With a U.S. Aid Group
The New York Times claimed that the man killed in the drone strike was an aid worker who was filling his car with water cans, instead of explosives as was being claimed by the Pentagon.
The 43-year-old was working as a technical engineer for the Pasadena, California-based charity group Nutrition and Education International (NEI), which feeds hungry Afghans. The aid group had been trying to move him to the US as a refugee.
Witnesses told the outlet that on the morning of the fateful day, Ahmadi and his co-workers visited a Taliban-controlled police station seeking permission to distribute food to displaced refugees living in a nearby park. Later he returned to his office to fill drinking water for his family, as the area where he lived had erratic water supply.
A video footage shows Ahmadi, along with a co-worker, filling plastic canisters with a water hose and loading them into his car at around 2:35 p.m. In the pictures taken by the outlet, fire-damaged containers similar to the water canisters could be seen.
When the aid worker arrived home, his children, nieces and nephews ran out of the house to greet him, some of them getting inside the car as he backed it into the gated courtyard, according to witnesses.
As per the U.S. officials the MQ-9 Reaper drone scanned only one single male adult inside the white Corolla, despite presence of five children. It was following the confirmation that a Hellfire missile struck the vehicle even before the engine was shut off.
The outlet claimed that among those who died, included Ahmadi (43), Zamir(20), Faisal(16), Farzad(10), Naser (30), Arwin (7), Benyamin (6), Hayat (2), Malika (3) and Somaya (3).
Ahmadi's Movements Linked Him to an ISIS-K Safehouse?
The Pentagon had claimed that Ahmadi's movements linked him to an ISIS-K safehouse and his car was laden with explosives meant to be used in a suicide attack on US troops during the last phase of evacuation. Dubbing Ahmadi as an ISIS facilitator, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark A. Milley had called the drone attack as a "righteous strike."
The U.S. officials had claimed that the surveillance drone had tracked Ahmadi to a compound eight to 12 kms southwest of the airport. There he was seen loading heavy packages into the car. However, the location matched the NEI office.
Speaking to the outlet, Ahmadi's cousin Samia Ahmadi said that initially she thought the blast was the handwork of Taliban. "I saw the whole scene. America used us to defend itself, and now they've destroyed Afghanistan. Whoever dropped this bomb on our family, may God punish you," she said.
The report has also stirred anger on social media. "What's even more saddening is that right before the drone strike, the 7 children who were killed had ran up to greet Zemari Ahmadi, the US ally & aid worker, when he arrived home in a car that he filled with water jugs. They thought he was filling his car with explosives," tweeted a user.
"Zemari Ahmadi and 9 members of his fam, incl seven children,killed in the airstrike on Aug. 29, one day before the final US evacuation flights from Kabul, his brother Romal Ahmadi told NYT. @POTUS Belongs in prison!Bet he doesn't even give 1 thought. Here's who you arrest @FBI," read another tweet.