US admits Kabul drone strike killed aid worker and 9 members of his family including 7 kids

A US drone strike in Kabul killed an aid worker and nine members of his family – including seven children – instead of an ISIS-K operative, the Pentagon has admitted.

Head of US Central Command, General Frank McKenzie, said the strike was a "mistake" in a press conference that could be devastating for Joe Biden's presidency.

He added that it was "unlikely that the vehicle and those that died were associated with ISIS-K or a direct threat to US forces."

And he apologised for the horror, which happened on August 29 after American spies learned of plans for a terror attack at the airport in Kabul.

"It was a mistake and I offer my sincere apology," McKenzie said. 

A drone had observed men loading explosives into a vehicle.

In fact, victim Zemari Ahmadi had been piling the car with jugs of water.

The 43-year-old was behind the wheel of his 1996 Toyota Corolla when the strike was launched.

Its force set off a large secondary explosion, which officials originally claimed was evidence the car was indeed carrying explosives.

However, an investigation determined the blast was likely a propane tank in the driveway.  

McKenzie said tonight: "I offer my profound condolences to the family and friends of those who were killed.

"The strike was taken in the earnest belief that it would prevent an imminent threat to our forces and evacuees at the airport.

"But it was a mistake and I offer my sincere apology, as the combatant commander, responsible for this strike and this tragic outcome."

He said the Pentagon is considering reparations for the family of the victims. 

Ahmadi worked with American forces.


He had pulled into the driveway of the home he shared with his family and three of his brothers' families when a US commander launched a hellfire missile.

Some of the children were killed as they ran out to greet him as he returned.

Relatives of the young victims said they were burned so badly, they were unrecognisable.

Grieving relative Ramin Yousufi told the BBC: "Why have they killed our family? Our children? They are so burned out we cannot identify their bodies, their faces."

Mr Ahmadi's brother in law Najibullah Ismailzada said his sons Zamir, 20, Faisal, 16, and 12-year-old Farzad died in the blast.

And Emal Ahmadi said his two-year-old daughter was one of those killed. He said they had been waiting for the call to evacuate.

"If the US are killing Daesh [Isis] then we're happy – but you can see there's no Daesh here," he said.

"They killed innocent people."


Another victim, Ahmad Naser, is said to have worked as a translator with US forces.

The grieving brother of one of the dead told CNN his loved ones were "an ordinary family".

He said: "We are not ISIS or Daesh and this was a family home — where my brothers lived with their families."

President Biden is already facing global criticism for his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan – opening the door to the Taliban.

Days after the devastating strike on Mr Ahmadi and his family, he confirmed forces would be out of the country by his August 31 deadline.

And he said America could strike at terrorists without having boots on the ground.

In a speech, he boasted: "We struck ISIS-K remotely, days after they murdered 13 of our service members and dozens of innocent Afghans.


"And to ISIS-K, we are not done with you yet."

Deepening the unfolding disaster for the White House, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark A. Milley later called the strike "righteous" and claimed Mr Ahmadi was an "ISIS facilitator".

And just days ago, on Monday, the Pentagon's Press Secretary John Kirby repeated the claim that the strike was necessary to prevent an "imminent" attack.

The tragedy happened days after a blast at Kabul airport killed 13 US servicemen and women.

A separate US drone strike in remote Nangarhar Province on August 27 – the day after troops were murdered – killed two alleged ISIS-K planners and facilitators, according to the Pentagon.

Their identities have not yet been confirmed.

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