U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., grilled Secretary of State Anthony Blinken over the U.S. drone strike in Kabul that reportedly killed an aid worker and his family instead of a terrorist with ISIS-K, as the Biden administration claimed.
The New York Times published a bombshell report Friday that said President Biden killed a family of 10 Afghans, including seven children, when he ordered an airstrike to save face and not look weak following the preventable bombing near the airport that left 13 U.S. service members dead.
The evidence suggests Zemari Ahmadi, a “longtime worker for a U.S. aid group,” was mistaken for a terrorist when he was seen “loading canisters of water into his trunk to bring home to his family.”
“The guy the Biden administration droned, was he an aid worker or an ISIS-K operative?” Sen. Paul asked.
“The administration is, of course, reviewing that strike,” Blinken replied. “And I am sure that a full assessment will be forthcoming.”
The Republican senator pressed, “So you don‘t know if it was an aid worker or ISIS-K operative?”
Initially, Blinken said he “can’t speak to that,” prompting Paul to counter, “So you don‘t know or won’t tell us.”
“I don’t know because we’re reviewing it,” the secretary of state then acknowledged.
“Well, see, you’d think you’d kind of know before you off somebody with a Predator drone whether he‘s an aid worker or he’s an ISIS-K,” Paul then said, with a sarcastic chuckle.
The lawmaker told Blinken the issue was greater than the current administration, that actions like this have been going on for some time.
“The Obama administration drone hundreds and hundreds of people. And the thing is, there is blowback to that,” Paul added. “I mean, I don’t know if it’s true but I see these pictures of these beautiful children that were killed in the attack. If that’s true and not propaganda, if that’s true, guess what? Maybe you‘ve created hundreds or thousands of new potential terrorists from bombing the wrong people.”
And he was just getting warmed up, going on about how we should be sure of who is being targeted.
“We can‘t sort of have an investigation after we kill people. We have an investigation before we kill people,” Paul explained. “We got plenty of bombs. We can bomb almost anything we want from anywhere in the world. Maybe we should have bombed the helicopters and the planes we left behind. Even though you said you didn‘t know any of this and it was all surprise, once they took all our stuff, we should have said, ‘You have 20 minutes to get out of it because we are going to blow it up.”
“Then you would have sent a message of strength. Instead, we bombed somebody who we are not sure if it‘s an aid worker or an ISIS-k operative. That‘s not sending a signal of strength,” he continued.
He told Blinken “the fundamental decision that really ruined the whole thing for you was a military decision to abandon Bagram Air Force base before you left, before the Americans were out.”
And while acknowledging that the decision could have been a mistake in judgement, an “unforgiveable” mistake, Paul insisted that those responsible “ought to be relieved of their post.”
Paul then commented on giving the Taliban financial aid — according to reports, the US, under Biden, “pledged nearly $64 million in new humanitarian assistance” as part of a U.N. campaign to raise $606 million for Afghanistan to address poverty and hunger.
“The terrible mistake of releasing money to the Taliban will add insult to injury,” he said. “It’ll be terrible for the memory of the 13 soldiers who died in the end, who were the final soldiers to die in this war. If you end up giving money to the people that have been ruining the Middle East and Afghanistan for decades. I hope you won‘t release the money and I think it’ll be a big mistake.”
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