Gabrielle Canon here, taking you through the news for the rest of the afternoon from the west coast.
A New York Times investigation has shed light on an American drone strike in Afghanistan — one of the last fired in the war that stretched over 20 years — and raised new questions about whether it was justified.
The missile launched at a vehicle by the US military killed 10 people in Kabul on August 29, including 7 children, according to the report. Reporters also discovered that officials did not identify who the driver before firing, even though they later alleged the target taken out was ISIS affiliated.
Now revealed to be Zemari Ahmadi, a US aid group worker, interviews and surveillance footage reviewed by the NYT suggests he may have been taking colleagues to and from work when he died in the blast, and that the large containers identified in his car were filled with water to be distributed to neighbors.
From the NYT:
From the NYT:
According to one of Mr. Ahmadi’s passengers, a colleague who regularly commuted with him, the ride home was filled with their usual laughing and banter, but with one difference: Mr. Ahmadi kept the radio silent, as he was afraid of getting in trouble with the Taliban. “He liked happy music,” the colleague said. “That day, we couldn’t play any in the car.”
Mr. Ahmadi dropped off his three passengers, and then headed for his home near the airport. “I asked him to come in for a bit, but he said he was tired,” the last passenger said.
Although U.S. officials said that at that point they still knew little about Mr. Ahmadi’s identity, they had become convinced that the white sedan he was driving posed an imminent threat to troops at the airport.
When Mr. Ahmadi pulled into the courtyard of his home — which officials said was different than the alleged ISIS safe house — the tactical commander made the decision to strike his vehicle, launching a Hellfire missile at around 4:50 p.m.
Although the target was now inside a densely populated residential area, the drone operator quickly scanned and saw only a single adult male greeting the vehicle, and therefore assessed with “reasonable certainty” that no women, children or noncombatants would be killed, U.S. officials said.