The Dallas Morning News
The suicide bombings that ripped through Kabul’s airport in late August and killed 13 U.S. troops and more than 160 Afghans upped the ante for the U.S. to thwart more terrorist attacks in the final days of its withdrawal.
The Biden administration said it prevented another suicide bombing a few days later with a drone strike that officials said killed a suspected Islamic State group driver and an associate near the airport. U.S. officials told reporters that the target had been under surveillance for hours and that people were seen loading explosives into the trunk of his car.
But two separate investigations by The New York Times and The Washington Post cast doubt on that narrative. These news reports must elicit a fuller explanation than what the Biden administration has offered so far.
Relatives and co-workers of the target, engineer Zemari Ahmadi, told journalists that he was an aid worker with a California-based nonprofit in Afghanistan. Video obtained by The Times shows Ahmadi and a colleague loading canisters of water into his trunk to bring to his family on the day he was killed.
Ahmadi’s family members said 10 people were killed, including seven children. The relatives showed reporters photos of burned bodies belonging to children, and neighbors confirmed that children’s bodies were removed from the site.
The Biden administration must conduct a thorough investigation.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that the administration is looking at the matter “very, very, very carefully.” However, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters that while officials are investigating, he’s not aware of a plan to put investigators on the ground in Kabul. If two American newspapers can check out information on the ground, why can’t the U.S. government?
We hope the Biden administration follows through on its word to be transparent about its findings.
Without troops in Afghanistan, the U.S. will have to rely even more on drone technology to hit terrorists. A strike on the family of an aid worker who may not have done anything wrong should prompt our military to seriously examine its drone policies and decisions.