Sec. of State Antony Blinken has finally admitted this week in testimony in front of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Senate that he did not know for sure if an Afghan who died as a result of a U.S. drone attack in Aug. was a terrorist or a United States aid worker.
Under pressure and questioning from Republican Senator Rand Paul (KY), who is longtime skeptic of the whole war in Afghanistan, Blinken attempted to dodge the issue, then finally admitted that he did not know for sure if the person targeted by the August 29 attack was a part of ISIS-K.
The NY Times reported just last week that United States officials did not even have the identity of the driver of the car targeted in the attack, but that this person was “Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime aid worker for a United States group.” Several civilians died in the attack, including kids. The Pentagon had blamed the incident on “secondary explosions” for the killings, suggesting the target was carrying explosives, but the Times went against that account, based on the direct examination of the attack site.
Paul asked Blinken: “Was this person an aid worker or was he an ISIS-K terrorist?” At first, Blinken reported that the Biden administration was looking into the incident, and that “I cannot speak to that.” Paul pushed further, and Blinken finally admitted: “I don’t know.”
Paul argued that the United States should know the identity of the people of drone strikes, and also warned that murdering innocent people would create more “blowback” against the United States. He said that the U.S. should have bombed the deadly equipment that it left behind at the U.S. air base instead, given the Biden White House’s repeated bragging of over-the-horizon capability.
The Pentagon has not yet confirmed the identity of the person targeted in the attack, or an earlier drone attack two days prior. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby simply stated Monday that the attack was done to prevent an attack against the airport, after an attack on Aug. 26 that took the lives of 13 United States servicemembers and many Afghan civilians.
Author: Blake Ambrose