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Defense secretary would support evacuating Afghan families of botched airstrike victims, spokesman says

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin would support bringing the families of the victims of the botched Aug. 29 drone strike in Afghanistan to the United States, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

The U.S. military launched a drone strike on Aug. 29 based on faulty intelligence that resulted in the deaths of 10 civilians, including seven children, the Pentagon announced last week, acknowledging that the target was not associated with the ISIS-K terror group, nor did he pose a threat to the U.S. mission.

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“I believe the secretary of defense would absolutely support [it] if the family wanted to leave Afghanistan and come to the United States. I believe he would support that assuming that all the proper legal hoops were worked through,” Kirby told reporters at Monday’s briefing, though he noted he did not want to “get ahead of a process.”

U.S. Central Command is working to figure out how they can best contact these families considering the U.S. no longer has any physical presence in Afghanistan, Kirby added. They are looking to make contact to provide reparations for their loss and to verify whether they are seriously interested in coming to the United States.

Nutrition and Education International, the company Zemari Ahmadi worked for, offered to help contact the families following the admission that Ahmadi did not have ties to any terror plot or organization.

“NEI is offering to be the DoD’s main point of contact with Zemari’s family and NEI’s Afghan colleagues through its Kabul office,” the company said in a statement provided to the Washington Examiner, adding that its “primary concern is for the safety and welfare of Zemari’s remaining relatives in Kabul.”

The organization also called on the U.S. to provide "lifetime financial support" to them and on the Department of Defense to "expedite processing of P2/SIV visas for Zemari’s relatives, as well as provide resettlement support.”

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In light of the erroneous drone strike, Austin directed a “thorough review of the investigation,” which he said will “consider the degree to which the investigation considered all available context and information, the degree to which accountability measures need to be taken and at what level, and the degree to which strike authorities, procedures, and processes need to be altered in the future.”

He has asked the secretary of the Air Force to nominate someone to lead the investigation, and he expects the report to be ready within 45 days of the appointment, Kirby said Monday.

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Tags: News, John Kirby, Lloyd Austin, Airstrikes, Afghanistan, War in Afghanistan

Original Author: Mike Brest

Original Location: Defense secretary would support evacuating Afghan families of botched airstrike victims, spokesman says

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