Thursday, November 6, 2008

Seven civilians killed by foreign bombs

This time, the incident occurred in the north of Afghanistan:

Fresh Air Strike Kills Seven Afghan Civilians, Officials Say

HERAT, Nov 6 (Reuters) - Foreign forces have killed seven civilians in an air strike in northwest Afghanistan, officials said, a day after the Afghan president said warplanes had killed 40 civilians in the south...

The air strike was called in after a Taliban attack in the Ghormach district of Badghis Province in the northwest late on November 5, provincial officials said.

District chief Abdullah said seven civilians and 15 insurgents were killed in the raid.

"I myself have been to the area and seen the bodies of seven civilians. The house of a member of the provincial council was also bombed, two of his sons and a grandson were also killed," said Abdullah, who only uses one name.

Troops from the U.S.-led coalition, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and Afghan security forces responded to an insurgent ambush while on a route clearance operation, the U.S. military said in a statement...

There has been a steady rise in violence in Ghormach, an ethnic Pashtun pocket in the mainly Tajik and Uzbek north, in the last two years, holding up work on completion of a road linking the west to the capital, Kabul, and hampering aid deliveries. (link)
Air attacks by foreign forces are becoming rather commonplace in the northern province of Badghis. Below are some extracts from the US Air Force's daily airpower summaries showing that US planes have released all manner of bombs and missiles in the area over the past few weeks.

Oct 21 airpower summary:
... In the vicinity of Moqor [Badghis], an F/A-18 conducted a show of force to deter enemy activities. A JTAC declared the mission successful.

Coalition aircraft performed shows of force in the vicinity of Morghab [Badghis] and Tarin Kowt to deter enemy activities. The missions where confirmed a success by the JTACs. (link)
Oct. 22 airpower summary:
... In the vicinity of Morghab [Badghis], an Air Force B-1B Lancer dropped guided bomb unit-31s and GBU-38s onto a group of enemy fighters on motorcycles firing against coalition forces. A JTAC reported the mission successful... (link)
Oct 28 airpower summary:
In Afghanistan, an Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II fired rockets and cannon rounds onto enemy compound in the vicinity of Morghab [Badghis province]. The mission was confirmed a success by an on-scene joint terminal attack controller... (link)
Nov 3 airpower summary:
An F-15E conducted a show of force to deter enemy activities and provide armed aerial overwatch for coalition ground forces who were under imminent threat in the vicinity of Moqor [Badghis] and near Morghab [Badghis]. The mission was declared a success by a JTAC. (link)
It is worth noting that Badghis province is situated between Herat province to the west, run by Tajik warlord Ismail Khan, and the domain of Uzbek warlord Dostum to the east. We have seen previously that Herat now has an ethnic Tajik insurgent group whose leader sees himself as working in solidarity with Mullah Omar's Taliban. To the east, Rashid Dostum, who is as much a warlord as Ismail Khan and who thus finds himself in the Afghan government which the US installed, is in a constant state of rivalry with fellow warlord Abdul Malik.

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