December 14, 2021
The Chinese Foreign Ministry let loose on Washington on Tuesday for refusing to punish US military personnel responsible for a drone strike that killed 10 civilians in Kabul, Afghanistan, in August.
“The US troops’ atrocity of killing civilians in Afghanistan is unacceptable. It is all the more outrageous that the US exonerates the perpetrators with impunity on various grounds”, Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Shenzhen TV reporters on Tuesday at a regular press conference.
“We condemn the brutal military intervention by the US in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria in the name of ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’. We call on the international community to look into the US military’s war crimes of killing innocent civilians around the world and hold it accountable”, he added.
“Justice may be delayed, but it will not be denied. The era in which the US acted arbitrarily in the world under the pretext of so-called ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ is over”, Wang continued. “The day of reckoning will eventually come for the US military who committed the crimes of killing innocent civilians in many countries”.
Justice may be delayed, but it will not be denied. pic.twitter.com/53pPJrCZnw
— Spokesperson发言人办公室 (@MFA_China) December 14, 2021
The Chinese official’s comments come after US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin accepted the recommendations of US Central Command head Kenneth McKenzie and US Special Operations Command leader Gen. Richard Clarke not to punish those involved in an August 29th strike that killed 10 civilians, all members of the same family, riding in a car in Kabul.
The strike was in response to a Daesh-Khorasan* terrorist attack against US forces and a crowd of civilians outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport, where the US and its allies were in the final stages of evacuating from the country. Days earlier, the Taliban* had unexpectedly seized the capital without a fight as the US-backed government fled into exile.
The Daesh attack killed nearly 200 people, including 13 US service members and an unknown number of Taliban fighters, and injured thousands. The airstrike by an MQ-9 Reaper drone was claimed to have targeted a car with a bomb rigged for another attack and to have killed several Daesh fighters.
In reality, the car was driven by Zemari Ahmadi, an employee of the US non-governmental organisation (NGO) Nutrition and Education International. He was most likely on a trip to refill water containers for his home. All 10 people killed were members of his family, seven of them children, the youngest of whom was 2 years old.
“I offer my profound condolences to the family and friends of those who were killed”, McKenzie said in September, when the findings of a Pentagon investigation were made public. “It was a mistake and I offer my sincere apology”.
However, Wang wasn’t the only one to call out the Pentagon’s decision.
“‘Sorry’ isn’t enough”, US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted on Tuesday, quote-tweeting a video of McKenzie’s September 17th apology.
“Thousands have been killed in covert, unaccountable drone strikes over the past two decades. We should be demanding accountability for anyone involved in this and a full inquiry into this and the entire drone programme”, she added. The Somali-American came to the US in 1995 as a refugee from the civil war that engulfed her home country, which has since become the target of a years-long US drone war and covert war.
"Sorry" isn't enough.
Thousands have been killed in covert, unaccountable drone strikes over the past two decades.
We should be demanding accountability for anyone involved in this and a full inquiry into this and the entire drone program. https://t.co/61kZEZChUo
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) September 17, 2021
She added that whistleblower Daniel Hale, a former National Security Agency analyst who revealed America’s secret drone war programme to the press, was sentenced in July to 45 months in prison.
“What does this say to the families of children killed by drones? What does it say to our allies?”, she asked.
Not one person punished for killing 10 innocent people, including 7 children.
Meanwhile, Daniel Hale gets 45 months in prison for sharing information about our drone wars.
What does this say to the families of children killed by drones? What does it say to our allies? pic.twitter.com/49Q0Lt0KpP
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 14, 2021
“While the US talked about ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ at the ‘Summit for Democracy’, the innocent Afghan people who were gunned down by the US military were brushed aside and their families had no place to complain about their grievances”, Wang noted. “This is the harsh reality brought to the world by the so-called ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ advocated by the US”.