Rather than ISIS-K terrorists using a car to transport a bomb, a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan on Aug. 29 instead killed a U.S. aid worker and seven children, among others, a New York Times investigation found.
The Times reported Friday that the U.S. military drone strike east of Kabul on Aug. 29 ended up killing 10 people — including seven children — instead of an ISIS-K terrorist with a bomb in his car.
The last known U.S. strike of the war before the final pullout on Aug. 31 was supposed to target a car believed to be carrying explosives, according to the Pentagon.
A Times investigation, however, found that the man killed when a drone blasted his car, identified as Zemari Ahmadi, 43, was a longtime U.S. aid worker.
The Times investigation included video footage and interviews of several people in Afghanistan, including Ahmadi's co-workers and family members.
According to the Pentagon, the car he was driving was moving ''suspiciously'' during the day as it was followed to what was believed to be a ''safe house'' for ISIS-K, and that items were loaded into the car.
On Sept. 1, Army Gen. Mark Milley said that the strike, which destroyed the car and killed a total of 10 people in a ''dense residential'' area, was a "righteous strike," and met the rules of engagement that the military had, and was ''rigorously'' scrutinized before the drone strike was authorized.
Those interviewed by the Times painted a different picture of a man bringing plastic containers of water home with him from work, and being met by children outside the home before the strike.
Ahmadi, who worked for Nutrition and Education International as an engineer at the Kabul office since 2006, made three stops to pick up passengers and a co-worker's laptop at the time U.S. surveillance detected the car, the Times reported.
Milley said the car was flagged because of intelligence the military had about a possible threat of explosives in a similar vehicle.
This came just three days after 13 U.S. military personnel were killed in ISIS-K suicide bombings at the airport in Kabul.
''At the time, and I think it's still valid, we had very good intelligence that ISIS-K was preparing a specific type of vehicle, at a specific type of location,'' Milley said. ''We monitored that through various means and all the engagement criteria were being met.''
Milley said that there were ''secondary'' explosions following the strike, which meant that other explosives were present.
The interviews conducted by the Times said that those riding that day with Ahmadi reported the travel the vehicle did was just part of a ''normal'' day at work.
Milley said the strike is being investigated.
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