Monday, July 7, 2008

Another airstrike on civilians kills 27

On Sunday, July 6, a US airstrike killed some 27 civilians in Nangarhar province, according to local officials.

Readers will recall that on Thursday, July 3, residents reported six dead civilians in an airstrike in Farah, while on Friday, July 4, another airstrike in Nuristan killed 22 civilians according to Reuters. (See this blog entry from Friday.) The Nuristan episode (whose death toll seems now to be uniformly reported at 15) has already prompted Nuristani Provincial Council to close its office in protest. Now, Hamid Karzai wants an investigation; US authorities had said there were no reports of civilians killed, yet now Nuristan officials have said that a team of government doctors was among those killed. Meanwhile there has been no notice paid to the Farah incident.Returning to the latest incident in Nangarhar, The Times has an article which is to the point on the matter. Also, the BBC has a video report from Jalalabad including interviews with locals.

The Times
Afghan inquiry into American bombing of 'wedding party'
Tom Coghlan

KABUL, July 7 - Afghan officials are investigating reports from a remote area of eastern Afghanistan that US warplanes bombed a wedding party this morning, killing more than 20 civilians including women and children.

The incident in Deh Bala, a mountainous district of Nangahar Province very close to the Pakistan border, is the second alleged episode of “collateral damage” involving American aircraft in three days...

A statement released by the US military said: "Intelligence revealed a large group of militants operating in Deh Bala district. Coalition forces identified the militants in a mountainous region and used precision air strikes to kill them."

However, the governor of Deh Bala, Haji Amishah Gul, told the Times: "So far there are 27 people, including women and children, who have been buried. Another 10 have been wounded. The attack happened at 6.30AM. Just two of the dead are men, the rest are women and children. The bride is among the dead."

Afghan officials said that police were trying to reach the area of the incident, identified by local people as Ka Chona village. This afternoon there were reports of a number of injured men, women and children from the area admitted to hospital in the city of Jalalabad, the capital of Nangahar.

One of the injured, who identified himself as Kerate, said that a group of around 70 people, mostly women, were escorting the bride to meet her groom as local tradition dictates...

Figures released last week by the United Nations claimed that around 700 Afghan civilians have lost their lives so far this year in violence, an increase of around two thirds on the same period last year.

However, the United Nations said that numbers of civilians killed by Western troops were 255 of this total, although Nato claims this figure is fewer than 50. (link)
Pakistan's Daily Times reports that the Afghan parliament has condemned the US airstrike:
Afghan parliament condemns US air strikes

KABUL, July 9 (AFP) - The Afghan parliament condemned Monday civilian casualties in US-led air strikes after Afghan officials said more than 40 people were killed in two recent raids, including one that struck a wedding.

The UN representative to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, expressed "grave concern" about the allegations -- rejected by the coalition -- and called for investigations to clarify what happened.

Various parliamentary committees held a special meeting on the strikes, which happened on Friday and Sunday in remote and mountains areas on the eastern border with Pakistan.

"The Afghan people cannot tolerate American forces' bombing of civilians any more," deputy speaker of the Lower House, Mirwais Yasini, told reporters after Monday's meeting.

"We are stuck between a rock and a hard place, between Taliban attacks and foreign forces air strikes," he said... (link)

1 comment:

Salvador said...

47 AFGHANS SLAUGHTERED ON WAY to a WEDDING: the bride, 38 women and children and 8 teenagers.

I will be entering this in my data base on innocent Afghan civilians killed by US/NATO actions. Apparently the included photos will not be posted. Should anyone wish to see copies, I'd be happy to send them.
Marc W. Herold
University of New Hampshire

In memory of another wedding party massacre

47 Afghan civilians killed, including:
the bride
8 persons aged 14 to 18
38 women and children

at 6:30 AM, July 6, 2008

a procession was making its way by foot (or in vehicles?) to a wedding in the Ghaz area of Nangarhar Province. The group of mostly women and children escorting the bride to the wedding had stopped to rest in a narrow location when the U.S. fighter planes came and bombed, according to an eyewitness. The procession was as is custom on its way to the groom’s home. He added, “There were between 80 to 90 people altogether.” It was hit by a “precision” U.S. air assault when it was in Ka Chona village, Deh Bala (or Haska Mena) district close to the border with Pakistan. The U.S war planes obliterated the wedding party guests: the result was 47 dead civilians including the bride, 7 teenagers and 38 women and children. Scared survivors of the initial bombing ran pell-mell. When dwellers arrived at the scene to shift the injured and collect dead bodies, the US-led forces dropped four more bombs on us, Jamil said while giving an eyewitness account. Only six of about 40 processionists escaped unscathed in the air strikes, revealed another man
Many others were injured, several critically. Some were brought to the hospital in Jalalabad for treatment. One, a man named Kerate, said, “We were bombed. I couldn’t figure out what had happened and I went unconscious. When I woke up, I saw lots of people killed and injured.” “After the bombing, I saw several people wounded and killed,” said another man, who gave his name as Awrang. “I picked up some of the wounded and brought them here. I learnt later that my wife, my daughter and my sisters were killed.” The Governor of Deh Bala, Haji Amishah Gul, told The London Times: "The attack happened at 6.30 am. Just two of the dead are men, the rest are women and children. The bride is among the dead." Injured civilians later arrived at the main hospital in Jalalabad, repeating claims that a wedding party had been hit near the village of Ka Chona. "We were bringing the bride back to our village and on the way the Americans bombed us. I was in the first vehicle and all the vehicles behind me were destroyed," Shafiqullah, who brought some of the wounded to hospital in the city of Jalalabad, told Reuters. Three young boys were among those wounded.

The head of an investigative commission, Shinwari said the group gathered information from eyewitnesses and victim's relatives. All those killed in Deh Bala incident were buried in one cemetery near the village where the attack happened, Shinwari said. "They were all civilians, with no links to al-Qaida or the Taliban," Shinwari said. The members of the commission gave $2,000 for every person killed and $1,000 for those wounded, he said.

A U.S. military press (propaganda) release said several “militants” were eliminated in “precision air strikes” after “intelligence” (???) revealed a large group of insurgents operating in the Deh Bala district. U.S. military press officer, Captain Christian Patterson, promulgated: “it was not a wedding party; there were no women or children present. We have no reports of civilian casualties.”

What about these photos? A “militant” girl and a male “militant” being unloaded from a car in Jalalabad:


NANGARHAR, July 06: A girl who was wounded in U.S. forces bombardment in Haska Mena district of eastern Nangarhar province
(Source: ).

photo of a youngboy being
unloaded from van

Source: AFP photo by Strdel

Another “militant” being treated at Jalalabad hospital:

photo a young boy with nexk injury

Source: photo by Nesar Ahmad, AP

On-site investigations have revealed that 47 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in the U.S. air strike.

The U.S. military has kept on stone-walling, denying innocent Afghan civilians were killed.

Some local politicians have demanded that charges be brought against those responsible for Sunday's air strike. "The Americans say they can't miss a target of four inches," said Burhanullah Shinwari, the head of the official investigating team, who is also deputy speaker of the Afghan senate. "With all their technological advances, how can they not differentiate between a wedding party, women, children and the Taliban and al-Qaeda?"

Killed in a U.S. “precision” air strike upon a wedding party