Nearly a year later, the US government is still working to mend its final act in Afghanistan – a misguided airstrike that killed 10 civilians, including seven children.
A US airstrike intended for an ISIS-K terrorist in the final days of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan instead killed aid worker Zamari Ahmadi and her family members.
After initially calling it a “religious strike” and claiming that no civilians were killed, the Pentagon admitted its mistake and decided to resettle members of Ahmadi’s family and the workers of the aid organization he worked for. promised.
Since then, the US government has resettled 11 of the 144 individuals guaranteed this type of assistance, according to Brett Max Kaufman, a senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union representing Ahmadi’s family members and associates. .
Thirty-two persons live in Afghanistan, where they await evacuation.
“Some members of Jemari’s family have begun to pick up the pieces of their lives with a fresh start in America, which is undoubtedly good news. But the bottom line is that the government has not done enough, and many of our customers are at risk. ,” Kaufman said in a statement.
A person who lives in Afghanistan or the U.S. are not in the U.S., they are undergoing processing for resettlement in other places such as Albania, Doha and Kosovo.
US The first of the 11 members of the visiting family arrived in May and the most recent in July.
“The Department of Defense, along with other US government departments and agencies, is taking steps to respond to the August 29, 2021 airstrikes in Kabul, Afghanistan,” Pentagon Acting Press Secretary Todd Bresley said in a statement.
“In order to protect the privacy of family members, as well as help protect their safety and security, we are not able to provide more information about these efforts at this time.”
Organizations representing Ahmadi’s family remained silent as the US government worked through the process, but have now decided to speak in anticipation of the one-year anniversary to let the public know that people in Afghanistan are still in danger. are in.
The strike that killed Ahmadi and his family members was the result of intelligence received by the military that suggested that an ISIS-K terrorist driving a white Toyota Corolla was planning an attack on Kabul airport. Just three days earlier, 13 US service members and nearly 200 Afghan civilians were killed in an ISIS-K terrorist attack outside the AB gate at the airport.
General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of US forces in the Middle East during Afghanistan’s withdrawal, held a press conference weeks later and acknowledged that the strike was a tragic mistake.
In October 2021, Dr. Colin Kahl, Under Secretary of Defense for NITI, held a virtual meeting with Dr. Steven Kwon, the founder and chairman of the NEI who appointed Ahmadi.
According to a readout provided at the time by Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, Kahl said the strike was a mistake and promised bereavement payments in addition to support members of Ahmadi’s family, who are not in the U.S.
In a statement to CBS News on Tuesday, Kwon said, “After months of despair and lack of progress, many of those affected have been driven out of Afghanistan. However, I am increasingly scared for the people.” – which includes members of Jemari’s family and our NEI colleagues – who are still stranded in Afghanistan with no certainty or time to get out.”
ACLU attorney Kaufman said in an interview that the priority is to get the remaining individuals out of Afghanistan and resettle, then discussions on bereavement payments will continue.