Friday, June 13, 2008

Civilians slaughtered by NATO

From the Afghan press:

Paktika elders criticize NATO operations
By Zubair Babakerkhil

KABUL, Jun 11 (PAN): A number of influential and local elders on Wednesday warned of dire consequences if the NATO operations in the southeastern provinces not stopped.

Mira Jan Sahiqi, a local elder complained 48 people mostly children, women and elders were killed in the NATO raid in this area last night. Several others were wounded and arrested by the NATO infantry forces in this operation, he worried.

"Such happenings every time they happen force people to leave their houses and villages and join Taliban." He argued.

"Without bothering to find out whether there are Taliban, NATO assault innocent people while asleep and destroy their houses." Sharifa Zurmati MP from this province criticized.

The death toll of the incident would raise to 60 people she worried...

Foreign Forces claimed killing Mulla Salam they introduced as Taliban commander and several Taliban fighters but the residents claim Salam was a prayer leader and did not have any links with Taliban.

NATO in a press statement said they had arrested 12 Taliban and killed many others however the residents rejecting the statement's claims and said the overnight raid killed civilians. (link)

The incident, in Paktika's Mata Khan district, received different treatment in the U.S. military's narrative. They claimed that just four civilians were killed while "several militants" died and 12 were detained.

The Deutsche Presse Agentur version confirms the Pajhwok version:

“The US aircraft bombed several houses in Ebrahim Kariz village and killed around 40 civilians,” Haji Mangal, a tribal elder in the area, said.

“First the military forces bombed the area and then soldiers descended from helicopters,” Mangal said, adding that the dead included several women and children.

An Afghan lawmaker from the province said he had spoken with several sources who told him 33 civilians were killed.

“I have information from the area that 33 people - including women, children, schoolteachers, school students - were killed in the air raid,” said Khalid Farouqi, member of the Afghan parliament.

Farouqi said government sources told him eight of the dead were Taliban militants but added, “I have accurate information from the area that all of them are civilians.” ... (link)
The comments of the US military spokesperson are worth noting:
"... the blood is on the hands of the militants who choose to fire on coalition forces from these areas with their families present," said Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green, the top U.S. military spokeswoman in Afghanistan.
Nielson-Green may wish to take a peak at international law, which has a rather different take on the acceptability of such actions. According to the law of war, risks to civilians and civilian objects should be proportionate to the military gains won by such actions.

Pajhwok followed up the above story with this one the next day:
Four demonstrators wounded in Paktika protest
by Obaidullah Sarawzawal

SHARAN, Paktika, June 12 (PAN) - Four demonstrators were wounded in a protest walk against US forces in the southeastern province of Paktika on Thursday, witnesses said.

Hundreds of demonstrators marched this morning from Muta Khan district towards the provincial capital Sharan...

The protestors in Sharan attacked on police and hurled stones at security forces. The police in response, fired in air and into the demo to disperse the protesters. Several protesters told Pajhwok Afghan News that they saw four people wounded in shooting by the police.

The protesters also hurled stones at shops and signboards in the city. Their number increased by reaching to Sharan, becoming around 2,000 people...

The protestors were chanting slogans against American forces. (link)
Quqnoos has this:
Governor hits out at US over civilian deaths
Coalition says it only killed Taliban fighters during air raid

June 17 - The governor of Paktika has lashed out at coalition forces who he blames for the killing of innocent civilians in his province during an intense air assault on Taliban positions.

Governor Akram Khupulwak said the US-led coalition had failed to warn him of the attacks, which he said killed many civilians.

Five days ago, coalition troops launched an operation in the Mata Khan district.

The coalition said it killed scores of Taliban in the raid.

Both the governor and residents in the district said the troops had only killed civilians. (link)

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