Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dead civilians had it coming

The occupation forces deem themselves to be blameless in the latest episode of civilian deaths at the hands of foreign troops:

Four civilians killed by British soldiers in Afghanistan
Guardian (UK)

July 26 - British soldiers in Afghanistan today killed four civilians and injured three more after opening fire on a vehicle that failed to stop at a checkpoint...

The Nato mission in the country issued a statement saying the incident – which it blamed on the "reckless actions" of the driver - took place earlier today in the Sangin district of Helmand province.

"The vehicle approached the checkpoint and was directed to stop but it drove on … Soldiers fired warning shots in a safe direction away from the vehicle but were eventually forced to fire at it when it refused to stop, fearing an insurgent attack," the statement said...

Nato said that two other people in the car were uninjured and took the bodies of the four dead civilians back to their village. It added: "Both indicated that the driver of the vehicle was at fault for failing to stop when required to do so."

The statement ended: "ISAF deeply regrets this unnecessary incident caused by the reckless actions of the vehicle driver. The incident will be investigated." ... (link)
It doesn't require a cynic to ask whether the surviving passengers felt intimidated by heavily armed foreigners asking who was at fault. The situation brings to mind a comment from a journalist who had witnessed a rather rosy meeting held with Canadian Forces and village elders: "You would probably say whatever the men with the rifles wanted you to say."

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