Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday he did not know at this time whether a suspected member of the ISIS-K terrorist group was killed in a US drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan last month, or an Afghan aid worker and his family.
“Was the man the Biden administration droned on was an aid worker or an ISIS-K operative?” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) asked Blinken during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Afghanistan’s withdrawal.
The Kentucky senator was referring to a report in The New York Times that a drone accidentally hit Jemari Ahmadi, 43, a worker at Nutrition and Education International, a California-based aid group.
Blinken replied: “The administration is, of course, reviewing that strike. I’m sure a full evaluation will be forthcoming.”
“So you don’t know if it was an aid worker or an ISIS-K operative?” Paul asked.
“I don’t know because we’re reviewing it,” Blinken replied.
Central Command (Centcom) spokesman Captain Bill Urban confirmed on 29 August, a day after the strike, that the United States was investigating reports of civilian casualties.
Urban said at the time that while a US-led counter-terrorism drone strike interrupted an imminent ISIS-led threat to Kabul’s international airport, “we would be deeply saddened by any possible loss of innocent lives.”
The Pentagon had earlier said in a statement that two “high-profile” members of the ISIS-K terrorist group were killed and another wounded in the drone strike.
In a statement Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the department works “very hard” to avoid civilian casualties, adding, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of any innocent life.”
“You’d think you’d know before someone with a Predator drone whether he’s an aid worker or an ISIS-K operative,” Paul said Tuesday while investigating Blinken.
The drone attack came shortly after the August 28 attack on Kabul’s international airport, which killed 13 US service members and more than 100 Afghans. ISIS-K, an ISIS affiliate, claimed responsibility for the August 26 attack, bragging about “managing to penetrate all security fortifications”, a suicide bomber planted by US troops and a Taliban terrorist group.
Founded in 2015, ISIS-K is a staunch enemy of the Taliban and the United States. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the terrorist group was investigating the attacks.
The involvement of the Taliban in the attack on the Kabul airport has also not been denied by the United States. Kirby said on August 27 that US officials were unsure whether the Taliban was involved.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times