This video says about itself:
Afghanistan’s President has ordered an investigation into an alleged 30 civilians killed by US air raids in the west of the country. Meanwhile, the latest reports claim that the raid left 124 people dead.
This is a translation from the Dutch original in daily De Pers of 23 November 2009:
Afghan commission knows nothing about civilian deaths
By: Arnold Karskens
When one at the headquarters of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission in Kabul AIHRC asks about the number of civilian casualties caused by foreign troops in 2009 in “our province” [Uruzgan], one hears of just two incidents. These are not deaths. “In January, three civilians, and five civilians wounded in March,” says director Mohammad Farid Hamidi of the commission, subsidized by the Netherlands.
Shafiq, who is responsible for the AIHRC office in Tarin Kowt [in Uruzgan], also has no fatal incidents recorded. “We cannot say anything about the deaths this year.” According to him, because the incidents occur in a hazardous area and therefore cannot be investigated.
Strange, isn’t it? As Dr. Sher Ahmed, leader of the UN Mission in Afghanistan UNAMA in Tarin Kowt, happens to be “concerned” about the civilian victims of the fighting in Uruzgan. He cites two recent cases. About August 9 a U.S. helicopter opened fire on civilians, who had climbed a hilltop in the Chora district in order to have a better mobile phone connection. At least three people were killed in the bombardment.
About June 11, two cars were fired at by Dutch helicopters in the Chenartu district, 25 kilometer outside Tarin Kowt. Of the fourteen occupants [in the cars] eight died: one child, one woman and six men. Sher Ahmed: “From one family, four people: wife, son, daughter and grandchild.” Four were injured: one child, a woman and two men. “I get no explanation. ISAF does not always share specific information.”
The large discrepancy, eleven civilian deaths to zero, was no reason for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to check with the AIHRC. Spokesperson Annelou van Egmond is ‘satisfied’ with the work of the committee. The ministry is even considering to prolong the grant “with a limited 25 percent increase until the end of 2009″. Between December 15, 2007 and December 31, 2009 the organization receives over 1.25 million euros. Ms Van Egmond rejects any suggestion of a conflict of interest. “There is no preferential treatment at all.”
Also AIHRC board member Mohammed Farid Hamidi denies that his commission in exchange for Dutch aid keeps silent about civilian deaths in the province. “There is no pressure to minimize casualty figures. However, The Netherlands are our major donors.”
Limiting official “collateral damage” figures in the Afghan war has two major political advantages. First, it enhances the image of the Netherlands as the lead nation in Uruzgan which respects human rights. Secondly, it is advantageous for President Hamid Karzai, as excessive force by foreign troops undermines his influence.
A poll by The Asia Foundation shows that residents of Uruzgan attribute the responsibility for violence in Uruzgan four times more often to foreign troops than the average Afghan does.
Civilians have reported to De Pers several lethal cases this year. A headmaster in the Khas Uruzgan district said last summer that in the village of Nawa Shalee a Taliban prison had been bombed. Three prisoners died. In June, two Kuchi nomads were killed and a woman died in an early November night on her way to Tarin Kowt. In particular the deployment of aircraft and military helicopters are causing civilian casualties.
The Dutch Socialist Party wants the integrity of the AIHRC to be examined.
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MoJo Interview: Malalai Joya: here.
Stealing Money, Selling Heroin and Raping Boys — The Very Dark Side of the Afghan Occupation: here.
It is used to wrap kebabs, chips and glistening jalebi sweets, but rarely is Nato’s flagship propaganda newspaper read in Afghanistan. Bundles of Sada-e Azadi — The Voice of Freedom — are sold by the kilogram as scrap in Kabul’s black market bazaars: here.
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Americans Are Deeply Involved In Afghan Drug Trade: here.