CIA issued warning that children may be at scene of Kabul drone strike BEFORE missile hit car: Family of dead three-year-old demands person responsible is ‘punished’ and says he will accept compensation from US military
- Three sources said the urgent warning came just moments too late – after the military launched the Hellfire missile and just seconds before it struck
- This intelligence gap may have cost the lives of 10 innocent civilians
- Emal Ahmadi, whose three-year-old daughter Malika was killed in the August 29 Hellfire missile attack, said an apology from the US is ‘not enough’
- The grieving father demanded America ‘finds the person who did this’ saying ‘I want him punished’
- The Pentagon admitted Friday the man targeted in the attack was not an ISIS-K operative, as previously thought, but an aid worker
- Head of US Central Command Gen. Frank McKenzie said the US made a ‘tragic mistake’ and he offered his ‘sincere apology’ to the victims
- The strike targeted Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime worker for a US aid group
- He was killed along with seven children and two adult family members
The CIA issued a warning that children may be at the scene of the botched US drone strike in Kabul seconds before the missile hit the car killing 10 innocent civilians, according to a bombshell report.
Three sources told CNN an urgent warning that civilians were likely in the area and that children could be inside the target vehicle came just moments too late – moments after the military launched the Hellfire missile toward the target and just seconds before it struck.
The precise time lapse between the missile being launched and the intel warning of civilians in the area is not clear.
Hellfire missiles travel at subsonic speeds of up to Mach 1.3 or 997 miles per hour.
The one used in the strike is called the R9X, often known as the ‘ninja bomb,’ the Wall Street Journal reported. It is said to provide greater accuracy in order to prevent civilian casualties.
It is not clear if the military had communicated to the CIA it was firing the missile before it pulled the trigger.
However, the Defense Department and the CIA often work together to carry out counterterrorism strikes in Afghanistan.
The sources said this joint effort can lead to mistakes when there is miscommunication and problems around decision-making.
Such an intelligence lapse could be at least in part responsible for the loss of life of the seven children and three adult victims killed August 29, which the US military has finally admitted was a ‘tragic mistake.’
This latest report of a possible misstep by US officials comes as the grieving father of one victim demanded America ‘finds the person who did this’ saying ‘I want him punished’.
Emal Ahmadi, whose three-year-old daughter Malika and nine other family members were killed in the August 29 Hellfire missile attack, told the Associated Press Saturday that an apology is ‘not enough.’
‘That is not enough for us to say sorry. The USA should find the person who did this,’ he said.
The grieving father of one of the innocent victims demanded America ‘finds the person who did this’ saying ‘I want him punished’. Emal Ahmadi (left) and his daughter Malika (right)
A damaged vehicle at the site of the US airstrike in Kabul which killed 10 civilians including seven children
Emal spoke out after the Pentagon made the extraordinary admission Friday that the man targeted in the attack was not an ISIS-K operative, as previously thought, but an aid worker.
Head of US Central Command Gen. Frank McKenzie said in a press conference the US carried out the strike in the ‘earnest belief’ it was preventing an imminent threat to Americans and Afghans evacuating Kabul airport during the US’s withdrawal from the country.
But, the Pentagon made a ‘tragic mistake’ and he offered his ‘sincere apology’ to the victims.
The strike targeted Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime worker for a US aid group, as he arrived home to his family killing him, his children, Zamir, 20, Faisal, 16, and Farzad, 10; Ahmadi’s cousin Naser, 30; three of Ahmadi’s nephews, Arwin, seven, Benyamin, six, and Hayat, two; and two three-year-old girls, Malika and Somaya.
Emal, the younger brother of Ahmadi, said he had heard about the US’s apology from friends in America.
He said he was relieved that the US had finally recognized his family were innocent victims – and not connected to ISIS-K – but voiced frustration that it took weeks of pleading for the US to at least make a call to the family.
Emal demanded the US investigates who fired the fatal missile and punishes the military personnel responsible as he said ‘sorry’ won’t bring back his family.
‘I want him punished by the USA,’ he said of the person responsible for their deaths.
Emal also questioned how the family’s home could have been mistaken for an Islamic State hideout, especially given the US’s drone capabilities.
‘The USA can see from everywhere,’ he said.
‘They can see that there were innocent children near the car and in the car. Whoever did this should be punished. It isn’t right.’
Ten innocent civilians – all members of the same family – were killed in the August 29 US drone strike
Emal said he also expected financial compensation from the US for his family’s killings and demanded they be relocated to another country.
‘I want the USA to pay compensation for us and transfer us to a safe country like a foreign country,’ he said, adding that his brother had been the family’s main breadwinner and looked after his three brothers, including Emal, and their children.
‘Now I am then one who is responsible for all my family and I am jobless,’ said Emal.
The grief-stricken father added that life under Taliban rule was ‘not good’ and has left them with more ‘problems’ to deal with.
McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said Friday the US is considering making reparation payments to the family of the victims.
He said, as commander, he takes responsibility for the strike and said an internal investigation is still ongoing to see who should be held to account.
McKenzie told reporters it was ‘unlikely that the vehicle and those who died were associated with ISIS-K or a direct threat to US forces.’
‘It was a mistake and I offer my sincere apology,’ McKenzie said.
Ahmadi had been getting water jugs out of his car to bring home to his family when the military dropped the Hellfire missile on him. The aftermath above
McKenzie said the movements of Ahmadi had matched US intelligence about the terrorist group’s plans to carry out an attack at Kabul airport.
In particular, they had intel that ISIS-K would use a Toyota Corolla – the same make of vehicle driven by Ahmadi.
‘One of the most recurring aspects of the intelligence was that ISIS-K would utilize a white Toyota Corolla as a key element in the next attack,’ McKenzie said.
‘It is further my assessment that the strike team at the time of the strike was convinced the area was clear of civilians and they had taken prudent steps in weaponeering the strike to minimize civilian casualties.’
A drone had observed men loading what were thought to be explosives into Ahmadi’s white 1996 Toyota Corolla as they carried out surveillance on him for eight hours that day, he said.
The containers actually turned out to be jugs of water.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin released a statement saying the victims did not pose a threat and Ahmadi’s actions that day were ‘completely harmless’.
‘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,’ he said.
‘It was a mistake and I offer my sincere apology,’ Head of US Central Command Gen. Frank McKenzie said
The Pentagon for weeks insisted that at least one ISIS-K facilitator was killed along with three civilians and that it was necessary to protect the US troops still evacuating Afghanistan.
The stunning admission only came after a New York Times investigation reported that the vehicle struck actually belonged to the US aid worker who was killed along with nine fancily members.
The family had worked for Americans and were trying to gain visas to the US, fearing for their lives under the Taliban.
Ahmadi had been loading water jugs into his car to bring home to his family.
As he pulled into the driveway of the home he shared with his family and three of his brothers’ families, several of his children and his brothers’ children ran out to greet him, according to family members.
At that moment, the Hellfire missile was launched onto the vehicle.
The strike set off a large secondary explosion, which officials originally claimed was evidence the car was indeed carrying explosives.
An investigation has since determined the second blast was likely a propane tank located in the driveway.
The drone strike followed a devastating suicide bombing by the Islamic State group – a rival of the Taliban – that killed 169 Afghans and 13 US military personnel at one of the gates to the Kabul airport.
For days, desperate Afghans had swarmed the checkpoints outside the airport, trying to leave the country amid the chaotic US and NATO troops pullout, fearing for their future under the Taliban.
The Ahmadi family pray at the cemetery next to family graves of the family members killed
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