Afghans Somber but Not Surprised as U.S. Calls Drone Strike a ‘Tragic Mistake’

On its website, the organization has a tribute to Mr. Ahmadi noting that “Zemari was well respected by his colleagues and compassionate towards the poor and needy.”

NEI had begun the process of filing refugee forms so that Mr. Ahmadi could emigrate with his family to the United States.

While the drone strike has received considerable attention, in part because it came in the last 48 hours the United States was in Afghanistan, it was a familiar sequence for Afghans and those who track civilian casualties.

Over much of the last 20 years, the United States has repeatedly targeted the wrong people in its effort to go after terrorists. While it has killed many who were connected in one way or another to organizations that threatened the United States, there is a well-documented record of strikes that killed innocent people from almost the very first months of its presence in Afghanistan, starting in December 2001 and ending with the death of Mr. Ahmadi and members of his family.

In the years in between, the United States killed dozens of civilians at a wedding and more than 100 civilians, many of them children, in Farah Province in 2009. In 2016, the military mistakenly bombed a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz Province that killed 42 doctors, patients and medical staff.

“The U.S. military has admitted to hundreds and hundreds of ‘mistaken’ killings over nearly 20 years of airstrikes, typically only after initially denying problems and then only investigating after public exposure by media or other independent observers,” John Sifton, the Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, wrote in a Twitter post on Friday, shortly after the military took responsibility for the mistake.

“The U.S. has a terrible record in this regard, and after decades of failed accountability, in the context of the end of the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. should acknowledge that their processes have failed, and that vital reforms and more independent outside scrutiny is vital,” he said.

Sami Sahak, Wali Arian and Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.

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