NEI/ACLU Statement on Newly Released Video of Deadly U.S. Drone Strike in Kabul

January 19, 2022 11:15 am

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NEW YORK — In response to a New York Times Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, the Department of Defense today released video footage of the Aug. 29, 2021 drone strike in Kabul that killed aid worker Zemari Ahmadi and nine members of his extended family, including seven children.

The ACLU and its partners represent Zemari’s former employer, Nutrition and Education International (NEI), as well as the drone strike victims’ surviving family members and NEI employees seeking evacuation. Below are comments from Dr. Steven Kwon, founder and president of NEI, and Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, in response:

Dr. Steven Kwon, founder and president of Nutrition and Education International:
“This video footage is painful confirmation of the devastation the United States caused when it killed 10 deeply beloved people, including Zemari, our loyal and caring employee of 15 years, and seven children. Zemari’s surviving family members and my NEI employees continue to suffer and are in grave danger as a result of our government’s shocking actions. We have been beseeching the U.S. government to evacuate these family members and NEI employees for months because their security situation is so dire. The United States needs to evacuate them now.”

Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project:
“Every day our clients remain in Afghanistan is a day they are in imminent danger. Ensuring their safe evacuation is our top priority and we need the U.S. government to follow through on its promises and take immediate action for their protection. These are people who have suffered unimaginable loss. Their grief is compounded by 19 days of untrue and stigmatizing allegations the U.S. government made about the drone strike victims, NEI staff, and NEI, which are still widespread in Afghanistan today. False rumors that the U.S. government has compensated surviving family members and NEI employees also continue to circulate and we want to be clear: We aren’t discussing compensation with the U.S. and no money has been paid. Our clients’ safety comes first.”

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