Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Unfriendly Fire in Afghanistan

This is the sort of report that deserves immediate and full investigation from the Pentagon, Congress, and apparently the CIA. From the Telegraph:

CIA 'killed 50 villagers in hunt for Taliban'

By Tom Coghlan in Kabul

Military specialists with the CIA were among a US force accused of killing more than 50 civilians during the hunt for a Taliban commander in Afghanistan.

Afghan community leaders in the Shindand district on the Iranian border say US forces destroyed several villages during the operation last month.

The American mission was conducted outside the Nato command structure and was therefore subject to different rules of engagement.

It is understood that the special forces unit included men known in America as CIA para-militaries, while support was provided by aircraft including the C130 Spectre gunship.

"There were huge planes overhead," said Haji Abdul Rasool, a tribal elder from Bakhtabad village. "I saw the bodies of children in the wreckage. After two nights we found one man alive under the rubble."

His account is corroborated by teams sent to the area by the United Nations, the Afghan government and Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission.
"We have found 57 civilian deaths in this incident," said Khazi Gulam Nabi Hakak, a human rights commission investigator. "This includes 10 women and at least 11 children. Some were drowned escaping across a river."

The UN said it had accounts of 49 civilian deaths and 1,600 families displaced by the violence. Staff at Shindand hospital said they treated 26 people, including women, children and the elderly.

The operation has caused anxiety at Nato's headquarters in Brussels and in Kabul.

US forces initially hailed the mission as a success. A US army press release claimed 136 Taliban fighters and one American soldier died in the fighting, while there were "no civilian casualties reported".

In response to the Shindand operation, Afghan president Hamid Karzai warned that Afghans' patience with foreign troops in their land was "wearing thin." After all, this was only the latest episode in which Afghan civilians had been killed during military operations mounted by NATO or US troops.

A few weeks back, the House oversight and government reform committee made splashy headlines with a hearing on the Pat Tillman friendly-fire incident and cover-up. The Tillman case deserved the attention. But practically every week in Afghanistan, civilians are being killed by US and other foreign troops. Yet the Pentagon has a long record of downplaying or denying these incidents. That routine response needs an about-face.

Posted by David Corn at May 9, 2007 10:36 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

I can't help but wonder what stories we never hear. The CACI and Blackwater off the radar ops.

The whole mess is likely far worse than we imagine.



capt said...

I just signed John Edwards' emergency petition asking Congress to stand up to Bush's veto and send back a binding funding plan to end the war.

We're working to gather 100,000 signatures this crucial week. Want to join me and sign?



O'Reilly said...

Mr. Corn,

Thank you for covering stories like these. They are of consequence and our war policy is a policy crying out for debate.

I support:

1) a planned withdrawal of combat troops from iraq

2) a short-leash appropriations bill to fund specific accounts through September

3) legislation in the appropriations bill to affirm all US Citizen's the right of habeas corpus which was revoked in the Military Commiisions Act of 2006

micki said...

I feel a bit awkward telling all of you about this on a blog, but I don't have email addresses for all of Carey's friends.

I just received an email from Carey's sister, Winke, with some very sad news and she wanted me to inform everyone. Carey's husband, Ken, died suddenly yesterday. At this time, the cause is unknown.

Winke asked that we remember Carey, Brandon and the family in our thoughts and prayers.

I phoned Carey and she sends her love to all.

capt said...

Think truly, and thy thoughts Shall the world's famine feed. Speak truly, and each word of thine Shall be a fruitful seed. Live truly, and thy life shall be A great and noble creed: Horatius Bonar, D.D.

The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself: Jane Addams

"Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. "In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended. Its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force of the people. "The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." : James Madison, April 20, 1795


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

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