China Daily (Hong Kong)

US drone strike victims’ family demands justice

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KABUL — Family members of Afghan technical engineer Zamarai Ahmadi, who was killed in a drone attack by United States military forces along with nine other family members, are demanding justice and compensati­on after US military officials admitted that the attack on Ahmadi was a mistake.

“The US’ confession of the deadly attack on civilians in my house virtually demonstrat­es its arrogance in targeting innocent civilians. Killing civilians is a blatant crime and the perpetrato­rs must be brought to justice,” said Emal Ahmadi, brother of Zamarai Ahmadi.

Zamarai, along with nine members of his family which included seven children aged 2 to 15, was killed in the drone attack on Aug 29, just one day before the completion of the US-led forces’ evacuation from Afghanista­n.

The Pentagon claimed that US troops had targeted a suicide bomber affiliated with the Islamic State group, that posed an imminent threat to US-led troops at the Kabul airport. Defending the operation, top US general Mark Milley insisted that the attack was “righteous”.

Neverthele­ss, US military officials on Friday confessed to have “made a mistake” and offered an apology.

“Our investigat­ion now concludes that the strike was a tragic mistake,” said Frank McKenzie, head of the US Central Command, adding that the Pentagon was considerin­g reparation­s.

However, Emal said more needs to be done than just offering an apology. Emal’s 3-year-old daughter was also killed in the strike. “Offering an apology is not enough. The US government should pay compensati­on besides bringing the perpetrato­rs to justice.”

Sitting in front of a wrecked car, a saddened Emal whispered that his brother Zamarai was a kind person and had no relations with the IS or any other terror group.

“By targeting a civilian house and killing civilians, including innocent children, the US military committed a big mistake. Killing civilians is a war crime and those who committed the crime should be booked and brought to justice and should be punished,” Emal said.

“I want compensati­on for the victims and demand punishment for the perpetrato­rs of the crime that the US officials have termed as a big mistake. And if ignored, I would pursue the case at the internatio­nal level, and approach all concerned judiciary organizati­ons to ensure justice.”

In support of Emal’s demands, Abdul Aziz, a local defense lawyer, said killing civilians is a war crime, and that those behind the crime must be brought to justice.

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