Sunday, March 1, 2009

More civilians perish

While the media was full of chatter about the two (then three) children allegedly killed by Canadian munitions in Kandahar on Monday, February 23, a rather obscure event was going on in neighboring Helmand province.

In Sangin district, NATO troops were involved in a clash with insurgents, resulting in "a number of civilian casualties" (note: not necessarily deaths) according to a NATO press release of Feb 23. (Only the day before in the same district Afghan and NATO troops fired on a motorcyclist, injuring him.) The next day (Feb 24), a NATO press release states that three civilians were injured during a clash in Sangin district on February 15, one of whom later died from their wounds.

Then there's Reuters from Thursday, Feb 26:

HELMAND - Helmand Deputy Governor Hajji Abdul Sattar and NATO-led and Afghan security forces have launched a joint investigation into the death of civilians during an engagement between NATO-led forces and insurgents Monday, the alliance said. (link)
The Feb 15 incident does not seem to have been reported elsewhere, so one is tempted to conclude it is a typo and that it should have read Feb 23. That still doesn't explain why Reuters reported more than one killed in the Feb 23 incident, a reference I have not found elsewhere.

February 5-6: US-led coalition forces in Zabul kill 6 civilians in an attack which targeted insurgents, say Afghan officials.
February 6: US-led coalition forces shoot and kill one man and wound a woman and child at a checkpoint in Khost province.
February 11: A provincial spokesman says NATO airstrikes kill four civilians in Logar province.
February 12: Five children are killed as Australian special forces battle militants while searching a house in Uruzgan province.
February 15: Three civilians are injured (one fatally) when NATO troops and insurgents clash in Sangin district, Helmand. [N.B.: The veracity of this report is unclear.]
February 16: In Herat US forces kill 12 - 16 civilians in air attacks. An American investigation claims that 13 civilians and three militants were killed.
February 17: Two civilians in a vehicle are killed by NATO-led troops on patrol in the Maywand district of Kandahar.
February 22: A motorcyclist is shot and injured by NATO troops in Sangin district of Helmand.
February 23: Villagers report that Canadian weaponry killed three children in Panjwai district. According to some, it was unexploded left-over ordnance; others said it was a Canadian artillery shell fired at the children.
February 23: A number of civilians are injured in a clash between NATO forces and insurgents in Sangin district, Helmand. Reuters later reports that more than one of them died.

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