Monday, June 30, 2008

US air strikes kill more civilians

From Reuters:

Afghan governor says civilians killed in U.S raid

KABUL, June 30 (Reuters) - U.S.-led coalition troops, backed by air strikes, killed 28 Taliban insurgents in southwestern Afghanistan, but six to eight civilians were also killed in the operation, the provincial governor said on Monday.

The raid on June 29 was aimed at a Taliban meeting in the Khash Rud district of Nimroz Province, provincial governor Ghulam Dastagir Azad told reporters.

"The operation was carried out on the basis of a tip-off. Twenty-eight Taliban and between six to eight civilians were killed in it," he said, without giving further details.

The U.S. military confirmed the mission, but said nothing of civilian casualties. It said the operation was aimed at disrupting militant activities in Nimroz. (link)
Here's the US Airforce's version of events from their June 29 daily airpower summary:
In Afghanistan, Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles dropped guided bomb unit-12s onto anti-Afghan forces in Lowkhi. An on-scene joint terminal attack controller declared the mission a success. (link)
(Lowkhi is the main population centre of Khas Rud district in Nimruz province.)

Deutsche Presse-Agentur adds a detail:
Nimroz governor Ghulam Dastagir Azad said a large number of Taliban fighters had entered Khash Rhud district and the coalition troops bombed their hideouts after they were passed 'accurate' intelligence... (link)
If it is true that the US airstrikes were based on "accurate" intelligence, then presumably the six to eight dead civilians didn't figure significantly on the American commanders' moral radar. In this they are perhaps in keeping with the laws of war which state that damages to civilians must be proportionate to any military advantage gained by the attack. The US did, after all, claim that some 28 Taliban including several commanders were killed in the attack.

No comments: