Tuesday, July 29, 2008

'My innocent children have been killed by foreigners'

On Saturday, as we saw, British soldiers in Helmand province opened fire on a car, killing four civilians. Now Canadian soldiers in Kandahar have followed suit:

2 children killed by Canadian troops in Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, July 28 (CP) — Canadian troops have killed a two-year-old boy and his four-year-old sister by opening fire on a car they feared was about to attack their convoy in Afghanistan, the Canadian Forces announced Monday.

Facing a split-second decision about what to do when a car failed to heed repeated warnings to pull over, a gunner in a light armoured vehicle pulled the trigger on a 25-millimetre cannon.

Its giant round tore through the little girl's skull and left a gaping wound in her younger brother's chest, witnesses said.

The children's mother later frantically paced the hallways at the local hospital, shrieking and cursing foreign soldiers between sobs.

Ruzi Mohammed, 31, was injured when a Canadian military vehicle shot at his rented car on July 27, 2008. The same shot killed Mr. Mohammed's son and daughter.

One police officer at the Kandahar city hospital said he saw the mother scream: "My innocent children have been killed by foreigners — for no reason!"

The father, believed to have been driving the vehicle, was being treated for lacerations but left the hospital without permission to attend his children's funeral.

Another hospital visitor said that if he were the children's father, he would personally strap on a suicide vest and exact vengeance on Canadian troops.

Shopkeeper Din Mohammad said foreign soldiers had better stop accidentally killing civilians or they will suffer the same bitter fate as the defeated Soviets...Coalition forces run frequent advertising campaigns that warn Afghan locals to keep a safe distance from convoys. In fact, most locals are terrified of getting close to military vehicles.

Taxi drivers in Kandahar city can be seen waving down their colleagues and shouting at them to avoid certain streets where foreign troops have been spotted.

Cars generally screech to a halt and pull off the road to let military convoys pass.

... Canada has been involved in other civilian killings before.

In one incident, a 90-year-old man who was a respected political scientist and mentor to President Hamid Karzai was shot when he approached troops on a motorbike.

In another, a young man riding on a motorbike was shot through the chest and the bullet struck the head and killed his little brother riding behind him. (link)
Note near the bottom of the article the mention of the 90-year-old man, Haji Abdul Rahman, killed in 2006 by Canadian troops. In an article last year, I reviewed the Canadian media coverage of that shooting:
The Toronto Star simply did not report it at all. The only mention in the Globe was by Rick Salutin in his column (Dec 15, A23). Meanwhile, a search of the CBC website finds no mention of the shooting victim... (link)

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