US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s attempt to evade questions about a drone strike that allegedly killed a Kabul aid worker backfired, as Senator Rand Paul stressed the target should have been known beforehand. the attack.
Pressed by Paul (R-Kentucky) on whether the August 29 strike killed an aid worker or ISIS operative, Blinken told a Senate hearing on Tuesday that the Biden administration was reviewing the incident and “a full assessment will be forthcoming.”
“So you don’t know if it was an aid worker or an ISIS-K member? “ asked Paul. “I can’t talk about this and I can’t talk about it in this setting anyway,” Blinken responded. “So you don’t know or won’t tell us?” “ Paul continued. “Uh, I don’t know because we’re looking at it” Blinken said.
Paul then stung Blinken with the obvious, saying: “Well, you see, you’d think you’d sort of know before you got rid of someone with a Predator drone if they’re an aid worker or if they’re an ISIS-K.” He added that the United States has a recent history of drone strikes with unintentional losses, including “Hundreds and hundreds of people” who were killed remotely by the Obama administration, and civilian casualties “Go back”.
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“I don’t know if this is true, but I see these pictures of these beautiful children who were killed in the attack”, Paul said of reports that seven children and three others were also killed in the drone strike. “If that’s true, and not propaganda, guess what, you may have created hundreds or thousands of potential new terrorists by bombing the wrong people.”
You can’t kind of have an investigation after you’ve killed people. We have an investigation before we kill people.
The New York Times said on Friday that its investigation into the incident revealed that the drone strike took away an aid worker and the children who had come to greet him – not an IS-K terrorist with a car bomb. , as the Pentagon had claimed. The newspaper also found that, contrary to claims by the US government, there was no evidence of “Secondary explosions” suggest that the car was rigged with explosives. The worker, Zemari Ahmadi of the American NGO Nutrition & Education International, had loaded containers of water into his car.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Monday he could not confirm who was killed in the drone attack, but “the strike was taken to prevent an impending attack on the airport.” The strike came three days after an ISIS-K suicide bombing at Kabul airport that killed 13 US soldiers and 169 Afghans.
Paul noted that he had advocated an end to the war in Afghanistan for a decade, but he never conceived the “colossal incompetence” he would witness when the Biden administration pulled out of the United States. He called for the US abandonment of Bagram air base more than a month before the withdrawal ended “one of the worst military decisions in our history”.
“Hold no one responsible, ask everyone to walk around the cars and say, ‘Hey, we all agree that the abandonment of Bagram Air Base was a great idea.’ people will remember it, ”he added. said Paul.
The senator said the Biden administration added “Insult to injury” by announcing new humanitarian aid of $ 64 million to Afghanistan. Although the administration said the money would be turned over to charities and United Nations agencies, bypassing the Taliban, Paul said the Islamist group used to receive such donations.
The United States has also allocated $ 10 billion to the Afghan government, which Paul says will go to the Taliban. “If they behave. “ Blinken acknowledged that the Biden administration will only withhold funds “Without the Taliban respecting the commitments and expectations of the international community.”
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“Really, the fact that you have good behavior, that they get more money, I think it’s a big mistake and a naive idea that we’re going to kind of change that Stone Age philosophy into something. giving them more of our money. “ said Paul. “We have sunk billions of dollars. This is our chance to have a peace dividend. Let’s stop sending good money after bad.
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