Both NATO and American military leaders have assured the people of Afghanistan that bombing raids will take care to avoid killing civilians. Just hours after NATO’s new secretary-general made those remarks, Associated Press reporters were shown the bodies of three young boys killed in a bombing raid. The angry residents of Kowuk yelled cries of anguish, “Death to America! Death to infidels!” as they mourned the death of the children.
The father of the dead children, Abdur Rahim, said he saw two helicopters circling over his compound and then missiles were fired into his home. “What was the fault of my innocent children? They were not Taliban. Did they come here to build our country or kill our innocent children?”
There are no simple answers to the questions of this Afghan man. Americans can promise to avoid killing civilians, but as long as there are insufficient soldiers on the ground, air strikes will continue — and so will the death of innocent civilians.