Saturday, September 22, 2007

Six (or twelve or four) civilians die in NATO bombing

The New York Times reports four dead, AFP says six and Pajhwok says twelve civilians died Wednesday (Sept 19) in Helmand's Gereshk district in a NATO air attack against insurgents.

Ali Muhammad, resident of Grishk, told Pajhwok Afghan News on Friday that two houses were pounded by NATO aircrafts. The air raid caused 12 civilian casualties.

Majority of the dead were women and children, said Ali Muhammad.

Another dweller of the district Haji Sher Muhammad said that operation was still underway in Haidar Abad and Mirman Dab areas of the district. Several civilians had been killed and injured in the previous two days of operation.

NATO press office, on the other hand, said some civilians had been suffered casualties but would not give the exact number. ...

The incident caused a very small splash in the Canadian media, in which notice of the incident was given only in articles mostly about other subjects, and headlined accordingly (see CBC, "Kabul car bomb attack kills French soldier and Afghan civilian", and "81 killed in Afghan fighting, air strikes; US says Iran supplying insurgents"; "French soldier dies in attack in Kabul: police"; also, the Globe and Mail print edition mentioned the incident, citing a death toll of six, on page 21 under "Developments".)

"The desired results were achieved"
Listen to how the US Air Force's September 19 air power summary reported the incident:
Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles engaged enemies near Gereshk using guided bomb unit-38s. Continuing the engagement, a pilot struck an enemy compound with a GBU-12. The on-scene joint terminal attack controller confirmed the munitions hit their targets and the desired results were achieved. (link)
The one that (nearly) got away
Earlier in the week, while the media was busy relaying other important information, another NATO-caused tragedy went virtually unreported:
Kandahar, Afghanistan – One local national died and two others were injured in a clash between Taliban insurgents and ISAF forces in Zabul Province, Sept 18... (from NATO press release - here)
The Globe and Mail mentioned the incident buried (in paragraph 13 of 17) in a story entitled, "British-led forces launch major Afghan operation". Pajhwok Afghan News appear the be alone in featuring the news in a headline: "Woman killed in crossfire in Zabul: ISAF"

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