Pentagon offers to pay families of those killed in Afghan drone strike

Pentagon offers to pay families of those killed in Afghan drone strike
© Getty Images

The Pentagon announced late Friday that it had offered condolence payments to the families of the 10 individuals who died during a deadly U.S. drone strike in late August.

The Pentagon did not disclose the amount of the condolence payments. Pentagon press secretary John KirbyJohn KirbyOvernight Defense & National Security — Lawmakers clinch deal on defense bill Biden to offer warning to Putin Overnight Defense & National Security — Preparing for the Biden-Putin call MORE added in his statement the Pentagon would be assisting the State Department for relatives who may be seeking to move to the U.S.

The announcement came after a virtual meeting that had been held on Thursday between the president of the organization that employed Zemari Ahmadi, Steven Kwon and the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, during which the U.S. made its offers. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Kirby said in his statement that Kwon discussed Ahmadi’s role within the aid organization and that Kahl acknowledged that the incident was a “tragic mistake” and that Ahmadi and others who died "were innocent victims who bore no blame and were not affiliated with ISIS-K or threats to U.S. forces."

In late August, U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Urban announced in a statement that the U.S. had conducted a drone strike, claiming that "an imminent ISIS-K threat" to the Kabul airport had been eliminated. Urban also explained that there had been two explosions.

However, reporting emerged afterward that indicated that the vehicle that was targeted was driven by a man who worked for an aid organization with no apparent ties to ISIS-K.. 

In mid-September, U.S. Central Command head Gen. Frank McKenzie acknowledged that an investigation conducted on the drone strike found that it was “a tragic mistake.”

“I am now convinced that as many as 10 civilians, including up to seven children, were tragically killed in that strike,” McKenzie said. “Moreover, we analyzed that it is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died were associated with ISIS-K or were a direct threat to U.S. forces.”

That led relatives of those killed to call on the Pentagon to do more, arguing that the Pentagon’s apology was “not enough.”

Kirby said in his statement that condolence payment amounts would be discussed in future meetings between the Pentagon and Ahmadi’s employer.