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After terrorists killed 13 Americans and 169 Afghans, the Biden administration needed a success to distract from his disastrous Kabul withdrawal. Three days later, the White House celebrated a drone strike.
“U.S. military forces conducted a self-defense unmanned over-the-horizon airstrike today on a vehicle in Kabul, eliminating an imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamad Karzai International airport,” U.S. Central Command spokesman Navy Capt. Bill Urban announced Aug. 29. “We are confident we successfully hit the target. Significant secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material,” he added.
Within hours, skepticism grew. Who was targeted? Did the Taliban provide the “intelligence?” Were civilians hurt?
On Sept. 1, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley scoffed at the doubters. He asserted the Pentagon “went through the same level of rigor that we’ve done for years” and “the procedures were correctly followed and it was a righteous strike.” It seems the drone strike enjoyed “the same level of rigor” as our slapdash withdrawal.
Today, two weeks later in a Friday afternoon news dump, the US military admitted it was all a lie.
The target was Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime US aid worker who spent the day transporting colleagues to and from work in his Toyota Corolla. When he was done, he filled his trunk with water bottles to take home to his family. As his car pulled into the courtyard of the densely populated residential block, his children ran to greet him. One of the happy kids jumped behind the wheel when Ahmadi got out.
That’s when a US drone launched a Hellfire missile at the car. The “secondary explosion” was likely a nearby propane tank.
In all, seven children were killed, 10 civilians total. None were ISIS-Khorasan operatives. None were even suspected terrorists. The military murdered our own allies then crowed about it. Thankfully, the New York Times rooted out the truth.
“We now know that there was no connection between Mr. Ahmadi and ISIS-Khorasan, that his activities on that day were completely harmless and not at all related to the imminent threat we believed we faced, and that Mr. Ahmadi was just as innocent a victim as were the others tragically killed,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement Friday.
“In a dynamic high-threat environment, the commanders on the ground had appropriate authority and had reasonable certainty that the target was valid, but after deeper post-strike analysis, our conclusion is that innocent civilians were killed,” General Milley added. “This is a horrible tragedy of war and it’s heart-wrenching and we are committed to being fully transparent about this incident.”
Now the Biden administration can be “fully transparent,” 17 days after we fled Kabul and the news cycle moved on.
Who knows how many Americans remain stranded in Afghanistan. The Taliban is beheading our allies on the ground. France has withdrawn its ambassadors from Washington after Biden left them in the dark about a new south Pacific strategy. Haitians and thousands of other nationals are pouring through our southern border and the administration has banned media aerial cameras from exposing it. The White House has restricted needed monoclonal Covid treatments from Florida and Texas to punish red-state governors.
Biden’s response was to flee Washington for yet another three-day weekend in Delaware. I hope Rehoboth Beach has good ice cream.Published in