Tag Archives: dead civilians

Massacre Of Afghan Civilians In Bombing Raid

It was another fight at close quarters in Afghanistan between US/Coalition forces and the Taliban. The fighting became fierce and a decision was made to call in an air strike at the insurgents. According to a spokesman: “there was an insurgent attack on an ANA group and the ANA called for assistance, ands some coalition troops joined them to help fight this group. There was close air support.” Unfortunately, in the hectic struggle, an air strike when there are civilians in the vicinity always carries the risk of mistakes. In this case, the mistake was massive. Afghan officials estimate at least thirty and maybe up to a hundred civilians died in the air strike on Bala Baluk, a Taliban controlled area in Farah province near the border with Iran.

There are reports villagers bought truckloads of bodies, many of them women and children to the provincial capital. One report indicated civilians had gone to the village of Gerani to escape the fighting and then were bombed as they sheltered in what they thought was a safe area.

There will be an investigation, an apology, and compensation for families of the dead. The basic issue is there are insufficient Afghan, US and Coalition forces to keep fighting on the ground. Each air strike carries with it the danger of another massacre of the innocent.

US Air Strikes Continue In Pakistan

American missiles continue hitting into Pakistan in the search to kill al-Qaeda or Taliban leaders, but the only message emerging from these attacks is growing anger on the part of Pakistani leaders about outside forces killing their citizens. At least 27 people have been killed in two strikes over the past week. Several observers on the scene agree a few al-Qaeda middle level leaders might have been killed, but in all such operations, the dead also include innocent civilians. These attacks raise other issues. Will killing ten or twenty or a hundred middle level officials result in peace? Or is it meaningless since there will always be others to assume the mantle of leadership in al-Qaeda?

Bush continues to misunderstand the concept of fighting a guerrilla war. Such wars are won by gaining the support of the people more than killing some leaders of the opposition.

Who Is Responsible For Deaths In Afghanistan Tragedy?

Controversy continues swirling around events in Afghanistan last week which resulted in the death of over 90 civilians including numerous women and children. An Afghan army commander agrees with the US version that its troops initially took fire from the village before commencing their own response. But, the report released by the office of President Karzai does not indicate who fired the first shot. “When the ANA(Afghan army) and coalition troops got close to the village firing started after the ANA unit stopped and the coalition forces conducted the operation in the village.” The investigating commission found that 15 men, 15 women and 60 children were among those killed. However, the commission did not find any “foreign or internal Taliban” among the dead bodies.

Village leaders insist the entire operation was based on faulty information supplied by enemies of some people in the village. This is not the first time such information has been supplied US and coalition forces by someone who wanted to avenge himself on people in a village. The entire situation only highlights the importance of avoiding air strikes when information can not be completely trusted. The lack of sufficient forces in Afghanistan dates to decisions made by the Bush administration in 2002 to divert forces from the task of destroying Afghanistan’s Taliban forces in order to seek out mysterious non-existant WMD. We are living with the legacy of Bush mistakes.

Killing Militants Or Killing Civilians?

An American plane destroyed a house in the southern cty of Basra which resulted, according to the United States, in the death of a militant. However, Iraqi witnesses and hospital officials claim that innocent civilians were killed in the air attack. Iraqi sources insist that three civilians were killed and others are still in the rubble. A neighbor, identified only as Jaj Juwad, told American reporters, “While we were preparing for evening prayers, US aircraft bombed this house, we rushed to save survivors. The father, mother and a young boy were killed and three others were buried under the rubble. We evacutated two people and one is still under the rubble.”

An airplane traveling at speeds of hundreds of miles per hour is capable, according to military sources, of spotting a house and bombing it with such accuracy that only the identified militant is killed. It is an interesting theory, one can only doubt if it is an accurate one.

Another Day In Afghanistan, Another Civilian Death

Almost seven years have passed since American and local Afghan forces swept the country clean of its Taliban leaders. The vast majority of people welcomed a respite from the onerous and medieval thinking Taliban leadership which endeavored to control all aspects of daily life. Yesterday, as NATO forces battled miliants, British soldiers called in an air strike against the enemy’s position. As all too often, in such cases of air attacks, the insurgents got away but two women and two children lay dead from bombs of their liberators. The British Military of Defense said their troops called for air strikes when they were ambushed. Of course, regrets were expressed, perhaps some money will be paid out, and four more dead Afghan civilians are added to the total of those who have died.

The initial Bush failure to wipe out the Taliban because of his desire to invade Iraq continues to haunt those now fighting in Afghanistan. There simply are not enough troops to conduct a proper military operation and thus the extensive resort to bombing. Seven years far surpasses the time necessary to win WWII or WWI. Perhaps, it is time to exploe alternative political strategies for bringing peace to the people of Afghanistan.

All Unquiet Tuesday On The Baghdad Front

It was another typical day in Iraq, the sun was shining and Apache attack helicopters were making their rounds checking on suspicious activities in the countryside. They spotted some men who they thought were planting roadside bombs, but before they could fire on them in the open fields, the men fled to nearby houses. The Apache helicopters opened fire blasting away at the houses. After the firing ceased, five of the men they thought were the roadside bombers lay dead along with six civilians while another five civilians were wounded. A spokesperson for the military said it was unclear exactly who the roadside bombers were, but it is believed they were among the dead. She expressed regret for the death of innocent civilians, but blamed their demise on the roadside bombers.

As far as the story goes, the bombers never exploded their bombs so it is clear they were not responsible for the deaths of civilians. If five men ran into houses containing other men it is unclear how the military can determine which of the dead men were the bombers and which were not. This “minor incident” happens each day in Iraq and at the end of the day more civilians are dead and more Iraqis hate Americans. The American military offered no explanation why the helicopters could not have pinned down the bombers in the houses and called for ground forces to attempt obtaining a surrender. One last question: Are the helicopter pilots absolutely certain these men were planting explosives?