A US airstrike in Kabul on a suspected ISIS suicide bomber actually killed an innocent man who worked for a US aid group and his family, according to recently released eyewitness accounts and images – raising concerns that the Pentagon has lied to the public about the strike.
The reported case of mistaken identity also blames President Biden for his chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, which has left hundreds of US citizens and thousands of Afghans at risk.
Zemari Ahmadi and nine members of his family, including seven children, were killed in an airstrike on August 29, a day before the last US evacuation flights from Kabul, his brother Romal Ahmadi told The New York Times.
Ahmadi, who was apparently the target of the strike, worked for 14 years as a technical engineer in Afghanistan for the Pasadena, California-based charity Nutrition and Education International, which feeds starving Afghans.
The aid group had requested that he move to the United States as a refugee.
New security footage from his workplace shows Ahmadi, whose neighborhood had an unreliable water service, filling water containers at his employer’s office at 2:35 p.m. shortly before returning home. Fire-damaged containers matching the water cans were photographed by The Times.
He and his colleagues, who drove to work, were also carrying laptops that day, according to security footage, possibly explaining the military’s claim that the targeted Toyota Corolla contained carefully packaged packages.
The Times disputed the Pentagon’s claim that secondary explosions demonstrated explosive materials were ignited by the US Reaper drone’s Hellfire missile.
The aging walls near Ahmadi’s car were not knocked down by the airstrike or subsequent explosions.
Three weapons experts told The Times there was no evidence of a secondary explosion as there were no blown up walls or destroyed vegetation near the burnt car. A small crater under the car was compatible with a Hellfire missile, experts said.
The Pentagon initially presented the airstrike as a successful mission to prevent another bombing of Kabul airport after 13 US servicemen and at least 169 Afghans were killed in an alleged ISIS suicide bombing on August 26 .
“The procedures were followed correctly and it was a fair strike,” General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, later said.
US Central Command spokesman Captain Bill Urban said, “US military forces conducted a self-defense airstrike today on a vehicle in Kabul, eliminating an imminent threat of ISIS- K for Hamad Karzai International Airport. We are convinced that we have successfully reached the target. Large secondary explosions of the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material.
The military had been given wide latitude to attack suspected terrorists without presidential approval after the airport bombing – despite consistent reports of civilian casualties linked to US airstrikes in Afghanistan.
A day after the airport attack, the US military said on August 27 that it killed two suspected ISIS members in eastern Afghanistan via a drone strike – although the Biden administration has refused to reveal their names.
Two days later, the American drone killed Ahmadi in Kabul.
President Biden endorsed the US strikes in Afghanistan on August 31 in a speech marking the end of the nearly 20-year US intervention.
“We struck ISIS-K from a distance, a few days after they murdered 13 of our soldiers and dozens of innocent Afghans. And to ISIS-K: We’re not done with you yet, ”Biden said in the White House State Dining Room.
The Times reports that the drone operators were not monitoring Ahmadi’s house before the airstrike, but had followed what they believed to be his vehicle during the day. The newspaper noted that shortly after the strike, ISIS militants used a white Toyota Corolla – the same model as Ahmadi’s car – to launch missiles at Kabul airport.
The White House National Security Council did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said: “The US Central Command continues to assess the results of the air strike in Kabul on August 29. We are not going to preempt this assessment. However, as we said, no other army works harder than us to avoid civilian casualties. Also, as President Milley said, the strike was based on good intelligence, and we still believe it prevented an imminent threat to the airport and to our men and women who still served at the airport. . ”