Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Recent US and NATO killings of civilians

NATO kills more civilians, this time in Helmand:
NATO says air strike likely killed Afghan civilians

KABUL, May 20 (Reuters) - A NATO-led air raid may have killed eight civilians in Afghanistan, the alliance said on Wednesday...

Separately, the U.S. military said an initial investigation showed that between 20 to 30 civilians were possibly killed in its air strike early this month in western Farah province, where the Afghan government says the deaths numbered 140.

NATO said it sent warplanes on Tuesday to Nawa in southern Helmand province after insurgents attacked an alliance patrol... (link)
As for the American claims that the Farah bombings earlier this month killed just 20-30 civilians, Patrick Cockburn addresses the subject:
The story told by the US military spokesman Colonel Greg Julian in Kabul yesterday is specific about its conclusion that most of the dead were Taliban fighters though vague about evidence for this. Colonel Julian said that video cameras on board a B1 bomber showed two groups of people, each numbering about 30, fleeing fighting and taking refuge in houses which were then destroyed by heavy bombs.

Colonel Julian said that the 60 people moving into the houses could not be identified from the video film footage, but "other information which I could release" proved they were members of the Taliban...

Few Afghans are likely to accept the US military explanation of events. Earlier the new US ambassador to Afghanistan General Karl W. Eikenberry was quoted as saying that he doubted the wisdom of dropping 2,000 pound bombs on houses when it was not known who was inside and coalition forces would change their tactics in order to prevent civilian casualties.

Gen Eikenberry's admission that the US did not know who was inside the houses that were demolished contradicts the official story that they were Taliban fleeing a battle... (link)
Some other recent killings of civilians:
PAKTIKA, May 13 (Reuters) - U.S. forces acknowledged killing two civilians as well as six militants when they responded with air strikes and artillery to a rocket attack on two bases in southeastern Paktika province. (link)
Italian troops deployed in western Afghanistan killed a little girl recently:
Italian troops kill Afghan girl, 12 - family

HERAT, May 3 (Reuters) - Italian troops fired on a passenger car in western Afghanistan on Sunday, killing a 12-year-old Afghan girl and wounding three members of her family, the family said.

A spokesman for the Italian contingent in Afghanistan said the girl was in a car that was driving at high speed and had ignored warning signs...

Reuters television footage showed a white Toyota car with its rear and side windows destroyed and its frame punctured with bullet holes. The girl, named Behnooshahr, lay dead on a gurney at a hospital in Herat, a city near the Iranian border.

"Suddenly I heard a loud bang, I couldn't work out what it was, but I saw that my daughter was dead and my family were badly hurt," said her father, Ahmadi, who did not give a last name and is from the neighbouring province of Farah. He said the military convoy was driving behind him and he could not see or hear any signals to slow down or pull-over.

After firing, the convoy continued to drive past his car and did not stop to help his family reach a hospital, he said...

Barakatollah Mohammadi, a doctor who treated the family at a hospital in Herat, said he was shocked at the extent of the girl's wounds: "Her head was almost severed from her neck."(link)
And other ISAF troops in Wardak province:
Afghan dies in escalation of force incident

KABUL, Apr 29 - An Afghan motorcyclist was fatally wounded by Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) and International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) troops yesterday in Sayed Abad District, Wardak province, after speeding toward an ANSF-ISAF checkpoint, despite repeated warnings to stop. In the incident, ANSF and ISAF troops manning a traffic control point observed a motorcycle approaching their position... (link)

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