14 thoughts on “Afghans flee war, hunger

  1. Kandahar villagers protest deaths, claim U.S. troops responsible

    By Murray Brewster, THE CANADIAN PRESS

    Monday, March 16, 2009

    Angry villagers from Maywand district demonstrate, in Kandahar Monday displaying bodies of two men they claim were innocent civilians who were killed Saturday by U.S. Special Forces. THE CANADIAN PRESS/A.R. Khan

    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – For the second time in as many months, angry Afghans have paraded through the streets of Kandahar the blood-splattered bodies of civilians allegedly killed by NATO forces.

    The latest protest, involving people from the village named China, happened Monday and was quickly shut down by the Afghan Uniformed Police.

    The villagers claimed that U.S. troops in Maywand, the western-most district of Kandahar, conducted a raid Saturday night in which five people were killed and two others went missing.

    American special forces along with Afghan commandos were operating in the area, but a statement from the U.S. military said only insurgents had been killed.

    A spokeswoman for the Canadian army said no Canadian troops were involved in the incident last weekend in Maywand.

    Three corpses of bearded men were displayed in the open back of white Toyota pickup trucks at a traffic circle in a suburb of Kandahar.

    “I think foreigners came to Afghanistan to kill innocent people, not to kill Taliban,” said Haji Mohammed, one the village elders.

    He stood on the open tailgate of one of trucks and beckoned passersby to look at two of the men who were laid out side by side in one vehicle.

    More than 100 people took part in the demonstration before the provincial police chief, Col. Matiullah Qateh, accused the villagers – from a region known for being a Taliban stronghold – of being in league with the militants.

    “You are Taliban,” he shouted. “Go home.”

    Local journalists witnessing the event were forced at gunpoint to leave the area, and the crowd dispersed soon afterward.

    The protesters said the men belonged to the Noorzai tribe, a group in Afghanistan that has occasionally aligned itself with the Taliban. There were fears among Afghan officials Monday night that the killings would whip up anti-American sentiment as the United States prepares to send 17,000 additional troops into the country.

    Last month, people living in Salehan, a village for the handicapped just outside Kandahar city, accused Canadian troops of leaving behind an explosive that killed three children. But an investigation determined that the bomb likely belonged to the Taliban.

    The accident had prompted an angry anti-Canadian demonstration at which the bodies of two of the boys were displayed outside Kandahar’s provincial council office.

    A statement from the U.S. command in Afghanistan said Saturday’s operation, conducted with Afghan commandos, was aimed at disrupting foreign fighters and a weapons distribution network in the district.

    “When the combined force arrived at the targeted location, they called out for all non-combatants to peacefully exit the buildings,” said the statement.

    “Five militants who manoeuvred on the force were killed during the operation. Several buildings were cleared without incident and three suspected militants were detained.”

    There were 19 women and 38 children in the compounds at the time, but none of them were injured, the statement said.

    There has been an increase in attacks against NATO troops in the country.

    On Tuesday, NATO said a soldier died of wounds received in an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan.

    The death followed a surge in violence in Afghanistan over the weekend that led to the deaths of eight other foreign troops – including four Americans.

    NATO did not provide the soldier’s nationality, the day of the attack or its exact location.

    Australia’s defence chief also said a ninth Australian soldier has been killed in Afghanistan.

    The soldier was shot dead during a firefight with 20 Taliban insurgents in Uruzgan province Monday.

    Australia has about 1,000 troops in Afghanistan.

  2. Afghans say U.S. troops killed local men

    GLORIA GALLOWAY

    March 17, 2009

    Kandahar, Afghanistan — A convoy of angry Afghans from Maywand district arrived at the outskirts of Kandahar city yesterday with the bodies of three men in the back of two minibuses and a pickup truck.

    They said the men had been shot dead along with two others when U.S. Special Forces swept into the village of China in the eastern part of Maywand early Sunday morning.

    The people in the convoy intended to protest against the killing to Kandahar Governor Tooryalai Wesa, but were stopped by police before they reached the governor’s palace.

    The U.S. military says the dead men were anti-government insurgents. The protesters say the men were a local mullah and farm labourers.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20090317.WORLDREPORT17-1/TPStory/TPInternational/America/

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