Relatives of the Afghanistan aid worker who was killed an an airstrike in August along with nine other innocent members of his family on Saturday requested help leaving the country and compensation for their suffering.
On Friday, 19 days after the U.S. government claimed it prevented an ISIS-K terror attack with a targeted, “righteous” drone strike near Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, officials conceded they made a “mistake.”
The Aug. 29 drone strike hit a longtime aid worker for a US group, 38-year-old Zmaray Ahmadi — the family’s primary breadwinner — as he pulled into the driveway of his home. The 10 victims – three adults and seven children – all lived together in the home, including Zmaray’s three brothers.
The next day, the Ahmadi family pleaded for help leaving the war-torn, Taliban-controlled country, as well as monetary reparations.
“Whether in America or another country, we want peace and comfort for our remaining years,” Samim Ahmadi — the 24-year-old stepson of Zmaray — told the Washington Post. “Everyone makes mistakes. The Americans cannot bring back our loved ones, but they can take us out of here.”
“We didn’t have money to bury our relatives,” Zmaray’s 32-year-old brother Emal reportedly said. “We had to borrow the funds.”
“We are worried,” said another brother, Ajmal Ahmadi, according to the Washington Post. “We feel under threat because we are so exposed to the public by the media. Everyone got to know that we have worked for foreigners, served in the Afghan army as well as the Afghan intelligence agency.”
Despite frustration over the U.S’ handling of the tragedy, one brother was “happy” officials admitted to the tragic blunder.
“The Americans kept emphasizing they killed an ISIS-K terrorist,” Emal reportedly said. “Now, we are happy they have acknowledged their mistake and confirmed that they killed innocent people.”
But now, Emal demands the US “punish” those responsible for killing family members.
“The U.S. government must punish those who launched the drone strike,” said Emal, according to the Washington Post. “They knew and saw there were children on the ground. Can anyone bring them back?”
The call for justice came as the family ripped the U.S. government for not reaching out to deliver a personal apology.
“No one has apologized, no one has helped us,” Romal Ahmadi said. “[They] Americans can’t bring back our brother, children, our nephews. If they apologize that would be sufficient.”
Now, they want to leave the country for somewhere safer, because it isn’t a “good place to be.”
Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., commander of US Central Command, said the civilians “were tragically killed” on Aug. 29, ahead of the Biden administration’s planned removal of troops from Afghanistan.
“I am now convinced that as many as 10 civilians, including up to seven children, were tragically killed in that strike,” McKenzie said. “We now assess that it is unlikely that the vehicle and those who died were associated with ISIS-K or a direct threat to US forces.”