News Release

Pentagon “Cover-up” in Kabul Drone Killing of Family Continues

No U.S. Troops Will Be Punished for Deadly Kabul Strike, Pentagon Chief Decides,” the New York Times reports this afternoon. “The military initially defended the August strike, which killed 10 civilians including seven children, in the days afterward, but ultimately called it a tragic mistake.”

The group BanKillerDrones.org responded: “Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, in declining to punish any military personnel for the August 29 drone slaughter of 10 members of the Ahmadi family in Kabul, Afghanistan, is continuing the Biden administration’s cover-up of who and what technology was indeed responsible for the attack, including, possibly, protecting the White House if the President was involved.”

“If the Pentagon wants to come clean about this horrific event,” said Nick Mottern, a co-coordinator of BanKillerDrones.org, “it will release documents and video tapes that show who was responsible for key decisions and what technological failings were responsible. If President Biden was involved in the decision, we must know that.”

The Air Force’s inspector general, Lt. Gen. Sami D. Said, insisted that the strike has to be considered in the context of the moment, with American officials at a heightened state of alert after a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport three days earlier killed about 170 civilians and 13 U.S. troops. “The broader context the Pentagon should acknowledge was clarified by Daniel Hale, the drone whistleblower who disclosed that innocent Afghan civilians were killed in 90 percent of the U.S. drone attacks during a five month period,” said Kathy Kelly, also with BanKillerDrones. “U.S. attacks slaughtering civilians have been routine,” Kelly added. “The unusual aspect of the August 29th attack was that international media exposed the murder of civilians and the pernicious initial claim that this was a ‘righteous attack.’”

Daniel Hale, sentenced to 45 months in prison, is serving time at U.S. Penitentiary Marion. In his own words, the only thing that Daniel Hale did wrong is that he “stole something that was never mine to take — precious human life. I couldn’t keep living in a world in which people pretend things weren’t happening that were. Please, your honor, forgive me for taking papers instead of human lives.”

“Austin’s announcement indicates that the slaughter in Kabul on August 29 was business as usual,” said Brian Terrell, also with the group. “The slaughter of the Ahmadi family is what happens when all the proper protocols are followed, and this was not a matter of botches by individuals who were properly doing their jobs that day, as Secretary Austin indicates, but of gross failures within the system, human and technological, that have been routinely accepted. If this happens when the system is working as it should, then it is not a problem that can be fixed short of shutting down the weaponized drone program altogether.”“It is also shocking that the U.S. government has still not enabled the Ahmadi family to come to the U.S. and guaranteed them reparations,” Mottern said. BanKillerDrones has called on the U.S. government to compensate the family $3 million for each family member killed, based on the $3 million that the U.S. gave to the family of Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian citizen killed in a mistaken U.S. drone attack in Pakistan in 2015.

BanKillerDrones.org is working to achieve an international treaty banning weaponized drones and military and police drone surveillance.

Contact: Kathy Kelly, kathy.vcnv@gmail.com

Nick Mottern, nickmottern@gmail.com
Brian Terrell, brian1956Terrell@gmail.com