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.