Posts Tagged ‘US airstrikes’

The Farah Bombing: Airstrike Report Belies “Blame Taliban” Line

June 26, 2009

By Gareth Porter | Counterpunch, June 26 – 28, 2009

The version of the official military investigation into the disastrous May 4 airstrike in Farah province made public last week by the Central Command was carefully edited to save the U.S. command in Afghanistan the embarrassment of having to admit that earlier claims blaming the massive civilian deaths on the “Taliban” were fraudulent.

By covering up the most damaging facts surrounding the incident, the rewritten public version of the report succeeded in avoiding media stories on the contradiction between the report and the previous arguments made by the U.S. command.

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Should the U.S. also suppress evidence of civilian deaths in Afghanistan?

June 15, 2009

Glenn Greenwald | Salon.com, Friday June 12, 2009 07:13 EDT

Something that has happened repeatedly in Afghanistan over the last eight years happened yet again this week:

After U.S. Strike, Dispute Over Afghan Deaths

KABUL, Afghanistan — Sharply conflicting reports on an American airstrike this week continued to trickle out Friday from American military and Afghan officials as to whether the attack killed civilians.

The airstrike in Ghor Province in western Afghanistan Tuesday had targeted a local Taliban militant, Mullah Mustafa, but instead killed 10 civilians and 12 insurgents, according to Sayed Iqbal Munib, the governor of Ghor Province.

But American officials Friday said the strike killed up to 16 militants and no civilians.

I obviously don’t know what the truth is about this latest incident, but let’s assume just for the sake of argument that — as has been true so many times before — it is the claim of local Afghan officials, rather than the U.S. military, that is accurate, and Afghan civilians, once again, really were killed by our airstrike.

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Afghanistan: A rise in civilian deaths and foreign troop fatalities

December 7, 2008
By Harvey Thompson | World Socialist Web Site, Dec 6, 2008

During the month of November, a further seven British soldiers—including two Ghurkhas—were killed in fighting resulting from the US-led military occupation of Afghanistan.

On November 27, Tony Evans aged 20 and Georgie Sparks aged 19, both of J Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, were on foot patrol north-west of Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, when they came under attack from insurgent fighters armed with rocket-propelled grenades. Both marines died later from their injuries.

Their deaths brought the number of UK fatalities in Afghanistan to 128 since the British military joined the US-led invasion of the country in November 2001. Of these, 43 have been killed during 2008.

Over 1,000 service personnel in the occupation forces have now been killed in Afghanistan (the majority of these being US soldiers), according to the icasualties.org website. Significantly, more foreign troops have died in Afghanistan since May than in Iraq.

November also saw a continued rise in the numbers of Afghan civilians killed and injured as a result of US airstrikes. This year has seen the biggest rise in civilian casualties since the occupation began. Conservative estimates put the numbers of Afghans killed in violence related to the occupation in 2008 at around 4,000. At least one-third of these were civilians.

The deaths of civilians and the high-profile presence of occupying troops are bringing social and political resentments to a boiling point.

On November 28, protesters in the Afghan capital of Kabul pelted police with stones after British troops shot dead a local civilian and injured three others. An eyewitness told Reuters that British soldiers opened fire on a minibus. Kabul’s police chief, Mohammad Ayoub Salangi, stated blithely that “A convoy of British Isaf troops were passing here and they had a misunderstanding with a civilian vehicle.”

The body was wrapped in white cloth and put into the back of a taxi and driven away from the scene as the crowd chanted, “Death to Bush, death to America.”

People then threw stones at local police before being dispersed.

In a separate protest the day before, a crowd of Afghans gathered outside the United Nations headquarters in Kabul to demonstrate against civilian deaths in air strikes.

Such is the anger over the mounting civilian causalities from the air-strikes that Afghan President Hamid Karzai felt compelled to denounce the actions of the occupation forces. On November 26, he told a news conference that he would bring down US planes bombing villages if it were in his power.

“We have no other choice, we have no power to stop the planes, if we could, if I could … we would stop them and bring them down,” he said. “We have no radar to stop them in the sky, we have no planes… I wish I could intercept the planes that are going to bomb Afghan villages, but that’s not in my hands.”

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