Tag Archives: civilian deaths

US Air Strikes Killed 47 Afghan Civilians

Several days ago this blog reported about an American air strike in Afghanistan that allegedly resulted in the death of civilians at a wedding party. US air force public relations denied the incident had ever happened. Today, a report was published by a special nine member panel of Afghan legislators to examine the incident. They concluded the air strike had killed numerous members of the wedding party. “We found that 47 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in air strikes and another nine wounded. They were all civilians and had no links with the Taliban or al-Qaida.” The United States air force was charged with a similar bombing on the Afghan border which also resulted in the death of civilians.

President Karzai has been pleading with coalition and American forces to avoid killing civilians, but extensive use of air strikes is bound to resort to the death of civilians. A missile went astray and instead of killing the Taliban, it killed civilians. Part of the problem in Afghanistan is inadequate ground forces to do the job without extensive assistance from the air force.

US Air Strike May Have Killed Civilians In Afghanistan

Fighting in Iran by coalition forces have relied extensively on the use of airplanes due to lack of extensive forces available to fight the Taliban. It is not surprising that planes make mistakes and, apparently, the past few days there were at least two incidents in which American planes killed innocent civilians. The American military denies they killed anyone charging the Taliban always makes such claims after an air attack. However, Tamin Nuristani, Governor of Nuristan province said his reports indicate at least 15 civilians were killed in one air strike and seven wounded, figures that were corroborated by the local police chief.

The nature of warfare in Afghanistan suggests there will be civilian casualties and for these deaths are among the most helpful to the Taliban in recruiting efforts.

From Afganistan To Pakistan With Death

The boundary between Afghanistan and Pakistan weaves through mountains and valleys making it virtually impossible for determination of an exact line. US led forces in Afghanistan fied across the border into Pakistan seeking to strike at Taliban militants but the only resulting killing was that of two women and two children. The attack illustrates American belief Taliban forces are finding refuge in the northwest region which is controlled by numerous tribal chieftains. Al-Qaida and the Taliban use Pakistan’s lawless border area as a base for attacks in Afghanistan. On Thusday, a suicide bomber rammed a convoy of US troops in Kabul and killed six civilians.

An Associated Press reporter was led by villagers in Tangrai to the ruble of the house hit in the cross border attack. One cried, “We are poor people, just trying to earn a living.” In Afghanistan, a spokesperson for the American led coalition said troops used “precision-guided munitions” in an effort to hit a compound, and they were responding to an “imminent threat.” Pakistan authorities asked the Americans to explain why there was a mistake but no on expects an answer other than the precise missile hit the wrong target.

The killing goes on, innocent civilians continue dying, and precision bombs continue hitting the wrong target. It was just another day on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Civilian Deaths Continue In Iraq

The deaths of nine civilians, including a child, further haunted efforts by American troops to win over the support of Iraqis. Witnesses and Iraqi police said helicopters strafed a house due to confusion between US forces and their allies over the source of what some troops thought were enemy militants. As American troops battle in urban areas, they increasingly encounter the problem of getting innocent civilians caught in the cross fire. A similar problem arose during fighting in Vietnam. The use of planes and helicopters only makes matters worse because they are flying at high speeds and dropping bombs which invariably will hit civilians in a densely populated area.

American soldiers thought a mortar attack came from the headquarters of friendly Awakening Council forces and then ordered in an air attack. The US military said “only” a child and eight other civilians were killed and three children wounded. The problem is undoubtedly al-Qaeda will use such incidents to play on fears of the Iraq population. There is simply no way to avoid death of innocent civilians. War is not pleasant or fair.

Iraqis Sue Blackwater For Wrongful Deaths

Families of Iraqis who died in a shooting involving Blackwater USA sued the company charging it violated US law and encouraged a culture of lawlessness among its employees. The Center for Constitutional Rights which brought the suit on behalf of the families charged, “Blackwater has turned lawlessness into profit at the expense of the lives of innocent civilians.” Seventeen Iraqis died in the September 16th shooting. The lawsuit charges Blackwater should be held responsible for assault and battery, wrongful death, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent hiring, training and supervision of its personnel. The FBI is currently conducting an investigation of the shooting.

Iraqi officials claim Blackwater’s license to operate in iraq expired on June 2, 2006 and therefore it no longer has immunity against lawsuits. There is something wrong with an American military operation in which private companies can operate with impunity against law. In prior American wars, the military handled construction activities or provided security, but under the Bush program of privatizing war, the corporate world now occupies a prominent role in warfare. One can only wonder how secure fighting men and women feel when mercenaries are protecting them and bringing supplies instead of well trained soldiers. In WWII, the famous and outstanding Seabees handled construction and won universal praise for their work. Perhaps, it’s time to bring back the Seabees.