WASHINGTON: Two major US newspapers — The ny Times and therefore the Washington Post — are questioning the US military claims that its Aug 29 drone strike in Kabul destroyed a car operated by an ISIS-K sympathiser.
Soon after the strike, the US Central Command claimed the car contained explosives destined for the Kabul airport. “Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a considerable amount of explosive material,” the statement claimed.
In a news conference on Sept 1, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of Staff Gen Mark Milley called it a “righteous strike” that correctly followed procedures.
In reports published this weekend, the days and Post claimed that their investigations were unable to seek out evidence of any explosives within the car, which they said was driven by 43-year-old Zemari Ahmadi, an engineer working for the US aid group Nutrition and Education International (NEI). relations told the days that Mr Ahmadi, who had applied for refugee resettlement within the us , was carrying water to relations when the drone hit his car.
The Times and Post also questioned military assertions of “secondary explosions” within the courtyard. Times reporters could find no evidence of a second explosion at the scene. Experts pointed to the shortage of collapsed walls or destroyed vegetation. “It seriously questions the credibility of the intelligence or technology utilised to work out this was a legitimate target,” adviser Chris Cobb-Smith told the days .
Explosives experts told the Post that the damage was mostly caused by the Hellfire missile fired by the drone. If there was a secondary explosion, two experts said, it had been likely caused by ignited fuel vapors.
Steven Kwon, president of California-based Nutrition and Education International, told the Post that the white sedan belonged to the organisation. After Mr Ahmadi met at the NEI compound to debate an emergency food aid programme for displaced people, he spent the remainder of the day running errands, Mr Kwon said.
He denied that NEI has any association with ISIS-K.
“We’re trying to assist people,” he told the Post. “Why would we’ve explosives to kill people?”
The Times said that after reviewing video evidence and interviewing quite a dozen of the driver’s friends and relations in Kabul, it’s doubts about the US version of events.
“Times reporting has identified the driving force as Zemari Ahmadi, an extended time worker for a US aid group,” the report added. “The evidence suggests that his travels that day actually involved transporting colleagues to and from work. And an analysis of video feeds showed that what the military may have seen was Mr Ahmadi and a colleague loading canisters of water into his trunk to bring home to his family.”
The US previously admitted that there have been three civilian casualties within the strike, but the days reported that the particular number was 10. Seven of these individuals were children, including young relations of Mr Ahmadi who relatives said had run to the car to greet him when he got home moments before the strike.