NATO keeps killing Afghan civilians


This video is called Afghan anger at government over civilian deaths – 24 Mar 09.

From Reuters:

Air strike kills Afghan civilians – provincial official

Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:48pm IST

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – An air strike by foreign forces in Afghanistan‘s southern Helmand province on Wednesday killed civilians, although the number of victims is unknown, a spokesman for the provincial governor said. “A patrol of foreign troops came under Taliban ambush at 3 pm. After the ambush, planes came and bombed the area, which caused civilian casualties,” said Dawud Ahmadi, spokesman for the Helmand governor. He could not yet give further details.

Officials are still investigating how many people died in the attack in the outskirts of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, he added. …

A press officer for NATO-led forces declined immediate comment on the incident.

Up to 18 Afghan civilians killed in airstrikes: here.

Salon.com blogger Glenn Greenwald discusses US foreign policy, including the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, drone strikes on Pakistan, cruise missile attacks on Yemen, operations in Somalia, the ongoing operation in Iraq, and much more: here.

A Pentagon plan to demolish its prison at Bagram, Afghanistan, amounts to destroying evidence in the cases of detainees who say they were tortured there, an attorney said Thursday: here.

2009 Deadliest Year for U.S. in Afghanistan: here.

Was the suicide bombing that killed seven CIA employees in eastern Afghanistan this week, sending shock waves through the US spy agency, masterminded by a warlord who was once one of the CIA’s key allies? Here.

At least eight protesters were killed and 13 wounded in the southern Afghanistan town of Garmsir Wednesday when security forces fired on a demonstration of several thousand people protesting against the US military. Protesters blamed the deaths on Afghan intelligence agents, backed up by US soldiers: here.

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10 thoughts on “NATO keeps killing Afghan civilians

  1. Families of 4 soldiers killed in Kandahar notified but names still withheld

    By THE CANADIAN PRESS

    Thursday, December 31, 2009

    Calgary-based reporter Michelle Lang tries on her fragmentation vest and helmet at Kandahar Airfield on Dec. 13, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel

    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – The military has now managed to notify the families of four soldiers killed along with a journalist in Kandahar city.

    However, the names of the soldiers are still being withheld because one of the families is abroad and has not been officially informed.

    All died along with Calgary journalist Michelle Lang, 34, when their armoured vehicle hit an improvised explosive device.

    Several soldiers were injured, as was another civilian.

    The loss of life Wednesday was one of the worst for the Canadian mission in Afghanistan.

    Lang was also the first journalist to die covering the war.

  2. Kabul demands foreign ‘killers’ handed over

    An Afghan demonstrator holds a banner while shouting anti-US slogans to protest civilian deaths, at a …

    by Sardar Ahmad Sardar Ahmad – 2 hrs 22 mins ago

    KABUL (AFP) – The Afghan government demanded Thursday to take into its custody foreigners wanted over the alleged killing of 10 civilians, sharply escalating a war of words with its powerful Western military backers.

    The National Security Council (NSC) made the demand at talks chaired by President Hamid Karzai, who has been vocal in condemning international forces he believes are responsible for the incident last Saturday in the eastern flashpoint of Kunar.

    “The meeting of the National Security Council demanded that those responsible for the deaths of those innocent youths must be handed over to the Afghan government,” a statement from Karzai’s office said.

    Sensitivities about civilian casualties allegedly caused by NATO or US-led operations have driven a wedge between Karzai and his Western military allies who help keep his fragile government in power.

    Karzai’s ties with the West have already deteriorated over his controversial re-election after a ballot mired in fraud.

    Around 113,000 NATO and US troops are fighting against a Taliban-led insurgency determined to topple Karzai’s government and evict foreign forces, in an increasingly lethal war — for civilians as well as combatants.

    The row escalated Wednesday when Afghan government investigators accused Western forces of killing 10 civilians, eight of them teenagers, in a raid in Kunar province, which borders Pakistan.

    NATO forces have disputed the results of the Afghan probe, saying the foreigners involved were non-military Americans on a sanctioned operation who fired in self-defence after being shot at by villagers.

    But Afghanistan’s powerful NSC accepted the findings of the investigation, saying foreigners entered a house and shot the 10 people, who were unarmed and posed no threat.

    “International forces entered the area… and killed 10 youths, eight of them school students inside two rooms in a house, without encountering any armed resistance,” the statement said.

    The NSC condemned the “killing and emphasized the need for more coordination in military operations in a bid to avoid civilian deaths”.

    Around 1,500 people took to the streets Thursday for the latest in a string of protests over the alleged killings, using sticks to beat an effigy of US President Barack Obama and shouting “death to Obama”, witnesses said.

    In Asadabad, capital of Kunar, hundreds of students led the march chanting “death to America,” “death to Britain and those who killed the students”, witnesses said.

    “We want the perpetrators brought to justice. The coalition forces must stop unilateral operations,” said organiser Abdul Wahab.

    Afghan authorities said they were also investigating reports of further civilian deaths in a NATO air strike.

    The probe was launched into reports that nine civilians were killed in a NATO air strike near the town of Lashkar Gah in the troubled southern province of Helmand on Wednesday.

    Daud Ahmadi, a spokesman for Helmand governor Gulab Mangal, said civilians had been killed in the Lashkar Gah bombing, but he had no figures or other details.

    “We know civilians have been killed but we don’t know how many. The governor has sent a delegation to the area to provide some cash support to the victims’ families and investigate the incident,” Ahmadi said.

    Mohammad Alam, who said he had taken a wounded man to the city’s hospital, said villagers had gathered to discuss water distribution when the air strike took place late Wednesday.

    “All of a sudden the area was bombed, eight people were killed on the spot, another was wounded whom I brought to hospital, he died later,” he said.

    The war of words over civilian casualties came as the Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a US base that killed eight US civilians, and after a bomb attack killed five Canadians, including a reporter.

  3. STATEMENT BY KAI EIDE, SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR AFGHANISTAN

    Source: United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)

    Date: 31 Dec 2009

    In the early morning of 27 December, ten Afghans were killed during a raid by Afghan and international military forces in Narang district of Kunar province. Many details of the incident remain unclear. Based on our initial investigation, eight of those killed were students enrolled in local schools. There is also evidence to strongly indicate that there were insurgents in the area at the time. UNAMA continues to investigate this incident to help bring clarity to the situation; I welcome efforts by the Government of Afghanistan and the international military to do the same. I appeal for calm while these investigations continue.

    The United Nations remains concerned about night-time raids given that they often result in lethal outcomes for civilians, the dangerous confusion that frequently arises when a family compound is invaded, and the frustration of local authorities when operations are not coordinated with them. Night time raids are a source of great distress to the families which are directly affected as well as communities throughout Afghanistan given safety and cultural concerns. I continue to raise such matters with the concerned authorities.

    UNAMA is equally concerned about the risks posed to civilians by insurgents living or operating in residential areas. They account for the majority and an increasing proportion of civilian deaths.

    I appeal again to all of the armed actors to make every effort to minimise harm to civilians and want to underline the importance of taking all precautionary measures to distinguish between civilians and combatants. Greater efforts must be made to reverse current trends so that civilians are spared the worst effects of armed conflict in the coming year.

    Kabul, 31 December 2009

  4. Source: 2 killed in Afghanistan bombing were security contractors

    December 31, 2009 3:42 p.m. EST

    Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — Two of the seven CIA officers killed Wednesday in a suspected terrorist attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan were contractors for Xe, a private security firm formerly known as Blackwater, a former intelligence official said Thursday.

    A current intelligence official confirmed to CNN that the casualties included a mix of people — CIA staff and contractors. The CIA considers contractors to be officers.

  5. December 31, 2009

    Afghan protests erupt over civilian deaths

    JALALABAD, Afghanistan (AFP) — Protesters took to the streets in Afghanistan on Wednesday, shouting “death to Obama” and voicing outrage over civilian deaths during Western military operations.

    Hundreds of university students blocked main roads in Jalalabad, capital of eastern Nangahar province, to protest over the alleged deaths of 10 civilians, mostly school children, in a Western military operation on Saturday.

    “The government must prevent such unilateral operations otherwise we will take guns instead of pens and fight against them (foreign forces),” students from the University of Nangahar’s education faculty said in a statement.

    Marching through the main street of Jalalabad, the students chanted “death to Obama” and “death to foreign forces,” witnesses said.

    “Our demonstration is against those foreigners who have come to our country,” Safiullah Aminzai, a student organizer, told AFP. “They have not brought democracy to Afghanistan but they are killing our religious scholars and children.”

    A protest was also planned in Kabul against the “killing of civilians, especially the recent killing of students in Kunar by foreign forces,” said organizers from the youth wing of Jamiat Eslah, or the Afghan Society for Social Reform and Development.

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai “strongly condemned” the deaths — which have not been confirmed by either NATO or the U.S. military — and ordered an immediate investigation.

    “Initial reports indicate that in a series of operations by international forces in Kunar province … 10 civilians, eight of them school students, have been killed,” the statement said.

    The operations in Kunar, which borders Pakistan, are being led by U.S. Special Forces, a senior Western military official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

    “They have been killing a lot of Taliban and capturing a lot of Taliban,” the official said.

    The operations were conducted independently of the more than 110,000 NATO and coalition forces fighting to eradicate the Taliban, he said.

    NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), asked to comment on reports of the Kunar deaths, said it had no activities in the region at the time. U.S. Special Forces operate separately from ISAF.

  6. 2009 deadliest year of war for Afghan civilians – U.N.

    Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:08pm IST

    By Emma Graham-Harrison

    KABUL (Reuters) – More than 2,400 civilians died in Afghanistan in 2009, the deadliest year for non-combatants since the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban, but killings by foreign and government troops fell, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

    Civilian casualties, one of the most emotive issues of the eight year conflict, rose 14 percent overall, the Human Rights division of the U.N.’s Afghan mission said in a statement.

    The report said two thirds of civilian deaths were caused by insurgents, while just a quarter were caused by government or foreign troops. The rest, not quite 8 percent, could not be attributed to either side.

    Western efforts to cut the human cost of their presence in Afghanistan appeared to have had some success, with casualties falling a quarter from 2008, but nearly 600 people were still killed by foreign and government forces.

    Reducing the number of civilian deaths caused by his troops has been a central focus of General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of NATO and U.S. forces, who took over in the middle of 2009 promising a new strategy to protect Afghans.

    McChrystal imposed new restrictions on the use of force, particularly air strikes, in areas where civilians might be hurt, arguing that civilian deaths aid the cause of the insurgents by angering the population.

    The majority of those killed by Western forces, around 60 percent, died in airstrikes, the U.N. report said. It also condemned the placement of military bases near areas where many civilians live, and violent “search and seizure” raids by pro-government and foreign troops.

    “These often involved excessive use of force, destruction of property and cultural insensitivity, particularly towards women,” Norah Niland, the chief human rights officer at the United Nations in Kabul, said in a statement.

    CIVILIANS TARGETED

    The number of people killed by armed insurgent groups rose dramatically, over 40 percent, with victims dying in suicide attacks, roadside bombings and firefights, but also executions for those seen as government supporters and informers.

    “Civilians are also being deliberately assassinated, abducted and executed if they are perceived as being associated with the Government or the international community,” Niland said.

    She also called on militants to follow the Taliban “code of conduct” which calls for protection of civilians.

    Last year was also by far the deadliest year of the war for foreign troops, particularly the United States and Britain, who lost more than twice as many soldiers as in any previous year.

    The report also said unrest and violence were spreading to previously stable areas, such as the northeast, although nearly half of all deaths were still in the volatile southern part of Afghanistan.

    The report highlighted the increased insecurity that Afghans face in their daily lives, said a group of Afghan activists and development workers fighting to reduce innocent deaths.

    “Despite promises in 2009, security is getting worse by the day. Politicians and commanders have made many promises about protecting the population, but so far we have not seen the results,” said Mudassir Rasuli, spokesman for the group Afghan NGOs against civilian casualties.

    (Editing by Peter Graff and Sanjeev Miglani)

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