US Says It Will Pay Families Of Kabul Drone Strike Victims

The Pentagon said that the United States has offered to pay an undisclosed amount to families of 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children, killed in a mistaken drone strike in August.

“Condolence payments” will go to families of 10 Afghan civilians, including seven children, the Defense Department said in a statement late Friday, according to reporting by The Washington Post. The military admitted last month the civilians were mistakenly killed in the strike.

The drone strike came days after 13 American service members and 169 Afghan civilians died in a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport. Following the strike, American officials insisted the target had been another ISIS-K suicide bomber, but last month, top US officials reversed course and admitted that on-the-ground intelligence about an imminent attack in Kabul was flawed, and the strike, which killed aid worker Zemari Ahmadi and nine members of his family, had been “a tragic mistake.”

The payment offers were made in a virtual meeting Thursday between Colin H. Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, and Steven Kwon, founder and president of Nutrition and Education International, the California-based aid organization that employed Zemari Ahmadi, the driver of the white Toyota sedan that the U.S. drone struck, according to the Times.

The Pentagon statement Friday also said that it was working with the State Department to help families of the victims relocate to the United States.

Congress has authorized the Pentagon to pay up to $3 million in payments to compensate for property damage, personal injury or deaths related to U.S. armed forces actions, along with “hero payments,” to allied forces, such as Afghan troops fighting ISIS.

In late September, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced the Air Force inspector general would review the botched drone strike and US Central Command’s investigation of it. The inspector general will report any recommendations and lessons to be learned.

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