Killing by drone and aerial bombing

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The US military left a bloody crime in Afghanistan before the last American soldier left the country after its 20-year of war of occupation. On August 29, a US armed drone fired a 20-pound Hellfire missile into a residential compound in the capital city of Kabul, killing ten civilians, including seven children.

In the face of overwhelming evidence, the US Central Command was forced to admit last September 17 that the bombing was a “tragic mistake.” This came after weeks of asserting that they successfully killed a terrorist supposedly belonging to the ISIS-K. They claimed that the person killed was involved in the suicide bombing in Kabul last August 26 which killed scores of people including 13 American soldiers.

Before admitting their mistake, US military officials asserted they were “98% sure” that their strike was successful and that they have nothing to prove or explain. Using a drone, they claimed to have monitored the movements of the suspected terrorist the entire day and saw him visit “known hideouts.” The US military insisted they prevented another terrorist attack because their target was then carrying heavy things in the trunk of his car which they assumed were explosives.

The truth is that the man killed by the US drone strike was Zemari Ahmadi, an employee of the Nutrition and Education International, an American charity organization. Ahmadi just arrived from all-day driving his officemates to and from their office. When the US missile exploded, he was then unloading large water containers for his family. His children were among those killed.

The US only admitted their mistake when investigation by Afghanistan reporters in partnership with the New York Times and the Washington Post, renowned US newspapers. They pointed out that Ahmadi was among Afghans who helped the US occupation and that he was planning to go to the US after the Taliban seized power last month.

Before this incident, the US has been forced to admit its mistake in killing civilians. This include the bombing of a marriage ceremony in 2002, the killing of more than 100 civilians in Farah province in 2006 and the bombing of a hospital in 2016 where 42 doctors perished.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, not less than 16,900 have been killed and 3,900 wounded in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen since the US started to use armed drones in 2001. It has no exact data of the casualties of US drone strikes in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Mali, Libya, Gaza and West Bank in Palestine, the Kurdistan region in Turkey and the Philippines.

Over the past 20 years, US military officials have ignored the clamor of thousands upon thousands of victims of their aerial bombing using drones. The US one-sidedly boasts of the technology and advantage of using drones in the field of battle. They disregard and bury the truth in their propaganda that the use of drones violate laws of war and employed in their intervention in different parts of the world.

Drones are flying vehicles that carry powerful cameras, thermal sensors (which detect heat signatures) and other equipment for surveillance and spying. There are drones that carry missiles and bombs.

The US used an MQ-9 Reaper drone against Ahmadi. This is capable of flying for 42 hours carrying 450 kilograms of explosives. This is controlled from military camps in the US and can be flown in different parts of the world communicating via satellite links. There are “drone command centers” in the US in Las Vegas, Nevada and other military camps, as well as in 27 camps in different parts of the world, including four in Afghanistan and one in the Philippines.

(To be continued in the next issue.)

Killing by drone and aerial bombing
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