KABUL (Dispatches) -- A U.S. drone strike purportedly targeting Daesh killed 10 civilians in Kabul, including several small children, family members told The Washington Post on Monday.
The dead were all from a single extended family who were exiting a car in their modest driveway when the strike hit a nearby vehicle, said Abdul Matin Azizi, a neighbor who saw the attack. Azizi, 20, said the explosion occurred as the family returned home Sunday afternoon around 4:30 p.m.
Azizi said he ran next door to help and found a gruesome scene, the air thick with smoke. “The bodies were covered in blood and shrapnel, and some of the dead children were still inside the car,” he said.
U.S. Central Command claimed the strike Sunday destroyed a Daesh car bomb that posed an “imminent” threat to Kabul’s airport. It acknowledged reports of civilian casualties but did not release specifics. The attack is the second U.S. drone strike on Afghanistan, which killed at least three civilians, according to local residents in Nangarhar province.
Mourners gathered at a neighbor’s home under the shade of a grape arbor. A woman, her face raw from sobbing, approached the garden’s entrance in hysterics.
“I lost my daughter, I lost my heart,” she screamed, calling out to God before a group of women surrounded her, trying to calm her down. Suma Ahmadi’s 2-year-old daughter and three of her brothers were killed in the explosion, said Ahmad Fayaz, a relative.
Growing faint and unable to speak, Ahmadi was helped back into the shade. Fayaz said she was in hysterics all night, unable to sleep or eat. In total, eight children and young adults were killed in the attack, Fayaz said.
Of the 10 civilians killed, eight were age 18 and under, according to lists from family members obtained by The Washington Post. Zamarai Ahmadi, 45, a charity worker, and three of his sons were among those killed, according to one of his surviving sons, 22-year-old Samim Ahmadi.
The United States “always says they are killing [Daesh], Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, but they always attack civilian people and children,” Fayaz said. “I don’t think they are good people.”
The Taliban condemned the attack and announced it is investigating allegations of civilian casualties.
The U.S. says the drone strikes were in response to the suicide bombing outside Kabul airport Thursday that was claimed by the Islamic State. The attack killed 13 U.S. troops and more than 170 civilians trying to flee the country.
“The Americans said the airstrike killed Daesh members,” Azizi, the neighbor, said angrily. “Where is Daesh here? Were these children Daesh?”
The U.S. military claimed its anti-missile defenses intercepted rockets fired at Kabul’s airport early on Monday, as the United States flew its core diplomats out of Afghanistan in the final hours of its chaotic withdrawal.
The last U.S. troops are due to pull out of Kabul by Tuesday, after they and their allies mounted the biggest air evacuation in history, bringing out 114,000 of their own citizens and Afghans who helped them over 20 years of war.
But having failed to anticipate that the Taliban would so quickly conquer the country, Washington and its NATO allies were forced into a hasty evacuation.
The Taliban say once the Americans leave, the country will at last be at peace for the first time in more than 40 years.
But countless Afghans, especially in the cities, fear for their futures. And the United Nations said the entire country now faces a dire humanitarian crisis, cut off from foreign aid amid a drought, mass displacement and COVID-19.
‘Sweden Wanted to
Promote Fighter Aircraft’
A sensational Wikileaks disclosure has revealed that Sweden
Armed Forces wanted to use the Afghanistan war to market their fighter jets across the world.
According to a Wikileaks cable, some of the ISAF member countries, a NATO-led military mission in Afghanistan, used the war to demonstrate the capabilities of their high-tech weapons and fighter aircraft.
Wikileaks has published a confidential cable by U.S. Ambassador to Sweden Robert Silverman to the NATO forces in Afghanistan asking them to urge Sweden to contribute more to the U.S.-led war on Afghanistan.
In his classified letter, Silverman wrote to the NATO forces in Afghanistan asking them to put pressure on Sweden to provide more to its ISAF operation in Afghanistan with additional manpower and resources, possibly including medevac helicopters, JAS Gripen fighters, and Operational Mentor and Liaison (OMLT) teams.
Silverman argued that Sweden’s Armed Forces has publicly suggested sending JAS Gripen fighter aircraft to Afghanistan, thus revealing that the Swedish military lobbied for the deployment for a possible combat experience, which could be good for the Swedish Air Force to market the Gripen fighter aircraft.
Essentially, Silverman was hinting that Swedish Air Force wanted utilize the Afghan war to demonstrate its fighter aircraft Saab JAS 39 Gripen, a light single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab AB. As “combat experience” for any military platform enhances the marketability of the product, Sweden intended to use the Afghan wars to further their economic interest.
As the terror groups operating in Afghanistan do not have any Air Force, the question of air-to-air combat did not arise, and the “combat experience” that the Sweden Air Forces was referring to essentially meant surgical strikes operations against the takfiri outfits.
Russia Urges Use to Release Afghan Funds
Russia on Monday called on the United States to release blocked reserves of the Afghan central bank and stop making more problems for the Taliban-controlled country.
Following the Taliban takeover of the Afghan capital, Washington froze a sizable portion of nearly $9.5 billion in assets belonging to the Afghan central bank – officially known as Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB) – and halted shipments of cash to the war-ravaged country, claiming that it tries to bar a Taliban-led government from accessing the money.
“If our Western colleagues are actually worried about the fate of the Afghan people, then we must not create additional problems for them by freezing gold and foreign exchange reserves,” said Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov.
Speaking on the state-run Rossiya 24 network, he added that Washington must urgently unfreeze these assets in a bid to “bolster the rate of the collapsing national currency.”
Kabulov further warned that without unfreezing DAB’s reserves, the Taliban would turn to “the trafficking of illegal opiates” and “sell on the black market the weapons” abandoned by the Afghan army and the U.S.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), DAB’s gross reserves totaled $9.4 billion at the end of April.
An estimated $7 billion of these funds are held by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and $1.3 billion of them are held in international accounts, mostly in European banks.