Thursday, November 8, 2007

US-led forces bomb factories in Nangarhar, hundreds protest civilian killings

In what is reportedly a new counter-narcotics tactic for Afghanistan, helicopters, guided by Afghan ground forces dropped bombs on six opium labs. Pajhwok news:

JALALABAD, Nov 5 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Coalition helicopters destroyed six opium-producing laboratories in Achin district of the eastern Nangarhar province, an official said on Monday.

Police spokesman Col. Abdul Ghafoor told Pajhwok Afghan News the factories in Damgal locality of the district were pounded in an airstrike coordinated with Afghan forces.

... Twenty-three opium labs have been razed in operations conducted by Afghan ground forces as part of a counter-narcotics campaign. It is the first time the US-led forces have used aircraft to hit the factories.(link)

It is perhaps worth noting that the Geneva Conventions forbid military attacks on civilian infrastructure.

US-led troops kill, hundreds protest
Also in Nangarhar province earlier this week, a raid conducted by Afghan forces supported by US forces, killed three civilians and wounded three others, according to a local police official. US spokespersons on the other hand claim the victims included an insurgent and his family. (See Pajhwok here; AP here.) Pajhwok:

Infuriated by the civilian slayings, hundreds of people including tribal elders gathered in the village to protest the action as outrageous. They vowed the victims would not be buried unless the Coalition assigned a clear reason for killing them.

Tribal elder Haji Miskeen Shinwari accused the foreign troops of gunning down the innocent civilians without any reason. The forces stormed into the house of Haji Ghulam Muhammad, whose sons sold sugarcane juice and yogurt in the Torkham border town, he explained.

Muhammad and his minor sons were killed while they were asleep inside their house, Shinwari alleged, claiming a women and two children were wounded in the raid. The injured and three of Muhammad's sons were taken away by the soldiers.
Continuing an apparent epidemic of bad behavior, Afghan forces in Badghis province put their foreign tutoring to use forcing civilians from their homes amidst battles with insurgents. Pajhwok:

QALA-I-NAW, Nov 6 (Pajhwok Afghan News): Government officials claimed 20 Taliban militants were killed in an air raid in Ghormach district of the western Badghis province. Residents accused rebels as well as security forces of forcing civilians from homes.

Maj. Gen. Murad Ali Murad, commander of the 209th Shaheen Military Corps in the northern zone told Pajhwok Afghan News on Tuesday a Taliban base was pounded by Defence Ministry and NATO choppers late Monday night. The air raid left 20 armed miscreants dead, he said.

...Meanwhile, Jersiah tribal elder Haji Abdul Rahman complained Taliban and government officials attacked the civilians fleeing the embattled area. Owing to the deteriorating security situation, he alleged, women and children had sought refuge in mountains.

Deputy Governor of Faryab Abdul Sattar Bariz said he had ordered security forces not to disturb the residents during operations and house-to-house searches. ...

I wonder how one avoids disturbing residents during house to house searches. (Link here to the Pajhwok article, wherein the claims of the Afghan officials - al Qaeda was there, etc. - must surely be taken with a grain of salt.)

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