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Father of 3-year-old girl killed in US drone strike: ‘Apologies are not enough’

THE father of a three-year-old girl killed in a US drone strike last month says that an apology is not good enough — Washington must punish his daughter’s killers.

Malika Ahmadi was among the 10 members of Emal Ahmadi’s family who were killed when a US hellfire missile hit a car being driven by his brother Zemerai as it pulled up outside the family home on August 29. Seven of the dead were children running to greet Zemerai.

Initially the US claimed that it had hit an Islamic State (Isis) “facilitator” planning a suicide bombing similar to the devastating airport attack that killed 169 Afghans and 13 US soldiers on August 26. But it was forced to backtrack as journalists picked holes in its version of events, finding that Zemerai was an employee of a US charity and that there was no evidence of an alleged secondary blast caused by explosives supposedly held in the car.

US Central Command chief Marine General Frank McKenzie admitted on Friday that the strike was a “tragic mistake” and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin extended his “deepest condolences to surviving family members of those killed.”

Gen McKenzie added that the decision to blow up the car was taken in the “earnest belief” that it posed a threat.

But Mr Ahmadi said on Saturday: “This is not enough for us, to say sorry. The US should find the person who did this.”

He cast doubt on whether the US was genuinely remorseful, saying US officials had not spoken to anyone from the family and that the drone operators would have been able to “see that there were innocent children near the car and in the car. Whoever did this should be punished — it isn’t right.”

His family are also calling for the US to help them find safety outside Afghanistan, as Zemerai’s work for a US organisation could see them targeted by the Taliban.

Though Gen McKenzie said that the US was looking at paying compensation to relatives of the victims, China’s Global Times newspaper said that what was really needed was “criminal liability.”

“It was a serious act of state terrorism and constituted a war crime,” the Communist Party-owned newspaper said in an editorial today. 

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