NEI/ACLU Comment on Air Force Inspector General’s Investigation Into Deadly U.S. Drone Strike in Kabul

November 3, 2021 3:45 pm

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NEW YORK — At a press briefing, the U.S. Air Force Inspector General Lt. Gen. Sami Said today provided a summary of his classified report investigating the Aug. 29 drone strike in Kabul that killed aid worker Zemari Ahmadi and nine members of his family, including 7 children. Mr. Ahmadi was employed by Nutrition and Education International (NEI), a U.S.-based humanitarian organization represented by the American Civil Liberties Union and its partners.

Below are comments from Dr. Steven Kwon, co-founder and president of NEI, and Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, in response:

Dr. Steven Kwon, co-founder and president of Nutrition and Education International:

“This investigation is deeply disappointing and inadequate because we’re left with many of the same questions we started with. I do not understand how the most powerful military in the world could follow Zemari, an aid worker, in a commonly used car for eight hours, and not figure out who he was, and why he was at a U.S. aid organization’s headquarters. According to the Inspector General, there was a mistake but no one acted wrongly, and I’m left wondering, how can that be? Clearly, good military intentions are not enough when the outcome is 10 precious Afghan civilian lives lost and reputations ruined.”

Hina Shamsi, director of ACLU’s National Security Project:

“NEI and the surviving family members have repeatedly asked for meaningful transparency and accountability for the wrongful killing of their loved ones, but they did not receive it today. The Inspector General’s main findings of error, confirmation bias, and communication breakdowns are all too common with U.S. lethal strikes, and his recommendations do not remedy the tremendous harm here, or the likelihood that it will happen again. It is astounding that the speed of CENTCOM’s investigation is seen as an excuse for 19 days of uncorrected, stigmatizing allegations about Mr. Ahmadi, his family, NEI staff, and NEI. Impacted family members and NEI employees are at high risk as a result of the U.S. government’s actions and must urgently be evacuated.”

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