KABUL — At least 10 people were killed in a house in Kabul on Sunday in the US attack on an alleged car bomb by the jihadist group Islamic State of Khorasan, known by its acronym Isis-K. Among the dead, relatives and neighbors say, are seven children, an employee of an American charitable organization, and a contractor for the US military.
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According to witnesses heard by the New York Times, one of the victims is Zemari Ahmadi, who worked for the NGO Nutrition and Education International, based in the Californian city of Pasadena. On Sunday night, he returned to the house he shared with his three brothers and their families after giving a ride to his colleagues.
His car, a white Toyota Corolla, was surrounded by the family’s children just as the American drones were launched. A missile hit the rear of the vehicle inside the small courtyard of the Ahmadis house, protected by a wall, shattering windows and sending flying shrapnel.
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Ahamdi and some of the children died inside the Corolla, and others lost their lives in adjacent rooms, according to relatives. An Afghan official told the American newspaper that three of the dead children were transferred by ambulance on Sunday.
— First, I thought it was the Taliban (…). But it was the Americans themselves who did it – said Samia, 21, Ahmadi’s daughter, who was indoors when she felt the explosion, and saw the bodies of her relatives as she went out to see what had happened. “I saw the whole scene. There were burnt pieces of skin everywhere.
Among the dead is also the girl’s fiance, Ahmad Naser, 30, a former Afghan army soldier and service provider for the US military. He had left Herat, in western Afghan, hoping to be removed from the country on one of the special visas for Afghans who have worked alongside Western forces for the past 20 years.
Ahmadi, meanwhile, was a technical engineer for the local office of Nutrition and Education International (NEI), a non-governmental organization whose aim is to combat malnutrition and hunger. According to his neighbors and relatives, neither the man nor his relatives had any connection with terrorist activities.
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The NYT was shown documents proving Ahmadi’s long relationship with the American NGO, and details of Naser’s visa application. In an email, NEI President Stevem Kwon said his employee was “well respected by colleagues and had compassion for the poor and needy”. Before the attack, he had “prepared and delivered soy-based meals to starving women and children in refugee camps in Kabul.”
The original target of the attack, according to the Americans, was an alleged car bomb that would be used by Isis-K, a common enemy of Washington and the Taliban, for a new attack on the airport in Kabul, three days after an attack on the site. leaving more than 120 dead, including 13 American soldiers — which made Biden promise to “hunt” those responsible. On Saturday night, the White House had issued an alert for people to leave the region, precisely because of the risk of further explosions.
Initially, the Americans claimed they had no knowledge of civilian casualties in Sunday’s attack, but later Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman for the US Central Command, said they were investigating the incident. According to him, the victims may have been killed by explosives that were inside the vehicle.
In an interview with Chinese state channel CGTN, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that seven people had died as a result of the US operation, saying the attack on foreign soil is illegal under international law. The fundamentalist group retook Kabul on the 15th, effectively returning to power nearly 20 years after being overthrown by US forces in the weeks following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
“If there was any potential threat in Afghanistan, it should have been alerted to us, not [respondida] with an arbitrary attack that resulted in the death of civilians,” Mujahid said in a written response.
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He had issued a similar statement on Saturday after another drone strike ordered by Biden, the first retaliation for Thursday’s explosion. The Americans claim to have killed “two important targets” of Isis-K and wounded a third in Nangarhar province to the west. According to the Taliban spokesman, two women and a child were reportedly injured.
The incidents occur in the final stretch of the withdrawal of American fighters and their North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies from Afghanistan, expected to end tomorrow, ending two decades of occupation of the Central Asian country and the longest war of American History. To speed up the operation, Western forces coordinate the airport in Kabul and air traffic in the Afghan capital, removing an estimated 114,400 people since then.
The rescued people are mostly foreign nationals and Afghans who worked alongside the invaders, but without civilian flights, the exit of ordinary citizens is practically impossible. For days, thousands of Afghans gathered outside the airport trying to flee — the vast majority of those killed on Thursday.
The Isis-K attack was the deadliest incident for US forces since 2011, when a helicopter crashed in Wardak province leaving 38 dead, including 31 US military personnel, seven Afghan security forces and an interpreter. Eleven of the 13 coffins landed on Sunday on American soil, being greeted by a pressured Biden, criticized by the opposition, analysts and even Democrats for his management of the crisis in the Central Asian country.