Recently, US officials have tried to downplay last month's bombing in Farah province, which was variously estimated to have killed over 100 civilians. (See below for more.)
Malalai Joya, who was elected to represent her home province of Farah and was subsequently ejected from the Afghan parliament for her outspoken views, has the following response to the tragedy:
As an elected representative for Farah, Afghanistan, I add my voice to those condemning the NATO bombing that claimed over 150 civilian lives in my province earlier this month...While American officials claim that the true number of civilians killed by their bombs is 26, a Reuters dispatch adds a revealing caveat to the assertion:
Just as the US air strikes have not brought security to Afghans, nor has the occupation brought security to Afghan women. The reality is quite the opposite.
This now infamous law is but the tip of the iceberg of the women’s rights catastrophe in our occupied country...Rates of abduction, gang rape, and domestic violence are as high as ever, and so is the number of women’s self-immolation and other forms of suicide. Tragically, women would rather set themselves on fire than endure the hell of life in our liberated country.
The Afghan constitution does include provisions for women’s rights. I was one of many female delegates to the 2003 Loya Jirga who pushed hard to include them.
But this founding document of the new Afghanistan was also scarred by the heavy influence of fundamentalists and warlords, with whom President Hamid Karzai and the West have been compromising from the beginning...
We are told that additional US and NATO troops are coming to Afghanistan to help secure the upcoming presidential election. But frankly, the Afghan people have no hope in this election. We know that there can be no true democracy under the guns of warlords, the drug-trafficking mafia and foreign occupation...
I must conclude that this presidential election is merely a drama to legitimise the future US puppet.
Just like in Iraq, war has not brought liberation to Afghanistan. Neither war was really about democracy or justice or uprooting terrorist groups; rather they were and are about US strategic interests in the region...
Perhaps if the citizens of North America had been better informed about my country, Obama would not have dared to send more troops and spend taxpayers money on a war that is only adding to the suffering of our people and pushing the region into deeper conflicts.
A troop surge in Afghanistan, and continued air strikes, will do nothing to help the liberation of Afghan women. The only thing it will do is increase the number of civilian casualties and increase the resistance to occupation. (link)
While the report noted that U.S. investigators had concluded that about 26 civilians and about 76 fighters had died, it acknowledged the figures were imprecise and said the true civilian death toll would never be known.
But in the military's first public acknowledgement of Afghan accounts of much larger civilian tolls, the report noted that an Afghan human rights agency had concluded that 86 civilians had died and praised its findings as "balanced" and "thorough." ... (link)