4 thoughts on “NATO soldiers kill Afghan children

  1. NATO says Afghan civilians killed in shooting

    Jonathon Burch, Reuters April 21, 2010, 8:23 pm

    KABUL (Reuters) – The NATO-led force in Afghanistan acknowledged on Wednesday it had killed four Afghan civilians when it opened fire on a car in the southeast of the country this week after initially saying two of the dead were insurgents.

    In a sign senior commanders are becoming increasingly frustrated by a recent spate of civilian deaths from highway shootings — which the military calls “escalation of force incidents” — NATO said it was also deploying trainers throughout Afghanistan to make sure troops understand combat guidance.

    Civilian casualties caused by foreign forces cause deep anger among ordinary Afghans and have eroded public support for the presence of more than 120,000 international troops fighting a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan.

    The issue has also caused a serious rift between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his foreign backers.

    On Tuesday, NATO said it had opened fire on a vehicle in southeastern Khost province on the evening of April 19, killing two “known insurgents” and two “associates.” A spokesman later acknowledged all may have been civilians.

    In a media statement on Wednesday, NATO said it had been wrong to describe two of the dead as “insurgents.” A spokesman confirmed they were civilians.

    “The term ‘insurgent’ should not have been used to describe two occupants of a vehicle involved in an escalation of force incident in Khost province Monday,” NATO said.

    Asked whether that meant all of those killed were civilians, NATO spokesman Master Sergeant Jeffrey Loftin said: “Yes, sir.”

    On Tuesday, another NATO spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Todd Vician, said the two had been described as insurgents because they were found in the military’s vast biometric database.

    The database includes tens of thousands of civilians as well as suspected insurgents. None of the four were armed and no weapons were found, Vician said.

    VOLLEYBALL MATCH

    Since taking command last year, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces, General Stanley McChrystal, has introduced new guidelines aimed at reducing civilian casualties by his forces and has had some success in bringing the numbers down.

    The U.N. envoy in Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, last week described the recent spate of incidents as a “disturbing trend.”

    On Wednesday, NATO said it would send training teams all over the country to make sure troops understand McChrystal’s orders and “implement critical lessons learned from previous incidents,” Major General Mike Regner, in charge of operations, said in the statement.

    The father of two of the victims in Monday’s shooting, Rahmatullah Mansoor, a judge in Khost’s provincial court, said three of those killed were teenagers and the fourth was an off-duty policeman in his 20s.

    The four were gunned down in their car as they were returning from a volleyball match, he told Reuters on Tuesday. Karzai condemned the incident and said all four were civilians.

    More than 2,400 civilians were killed in 2009, the United Nations says, making it the deadliest year of a war now more than eight years old. While foreign and Afghan troops killed 25 percent fewer civilians last year than in 2008, deaths rose overall because the number killed by insurgents rose 40 percent.

    (Editing by Paul Tait)

  2. Feds cherry-picking detainee documents, commission lawyer charges

    April 21, 2010 – 15:47

    Steve Rennie, THE CANADIAN PRESS

    OTTAWA – Lawyers for a military hearing into prisoner hand-overs in Afghanistan accused the federal government Wednesday of cherry-picking which documents it turns over.

    The lead counsel for the Military Police Complaints Commission said there seems to be a “weaning-out of documents” released to the inquiry.

    “What we appear to be receiving is a subset of a larger collection of documents,” Ron Lunau said.

    He added he is “very concerned . . . we’re not necessarily seeing all of the documents” related to the detainee affair.

    Thousands of pages have already been given to the civilian-run military watchdog, but thousands more are caught in a paper jam as government lawyers scrub out secret information.

    Government lawyer Alain Prefontaine told the hearing Wednesday that picking and choosing documents is necessary to avoid adding to the backlog. As it is, some key documents are still weeks from being ready.

    “We can certainly add to the chain all the documents that we’ve weeded out,” Prefontaine said.

    “Understanding, though, that the only impact this will have is to lengthen the queue and lengthen the time that it’s going to take to revise everything.”

    Acting commission chair Glenn Stannard wasn’t satisfied with the time it’s taking the government to plow through the documents.

    A Canadian general and a senior Foreign Affairs official have been summoned next week to explain the delays.

    Foreign Affairs deputy minister Len Edwards and Brig.-Gen. Richard Blanchette of Defence headquarters are to appear at the hearing Tuesday.

    Buried somewhere in the reams of paperwork still under review are a series of reports by former foreign-service worker that documented allegations of abuse in Afghan jails.

    The reports by Nicholas Gosselin cover at least eight claims of mistreatment by Afghan authorities between January and August 2008. Word of their existence emerged when Gosselin testified at the hearings last week.

    Prefontaine said the Gosselin reports could be turned over May 7, barring any unforeseen delays.

    Lunau lamented the time it’s taking to turn over documents.

    “Look, we’ve been at this since – what? – June 2008, when the public hearing was announced,” he said. “That’s two years ago.”

    The wrangling over the document delays reached a head Tuesday when Prefontaine snapped “The documents will be turned over to your counsel when they’re good and ready” after Stannard asked about them.

    The government lawyer later apologized.

    The commission is investigating an allegation from Amnesty International Canada and the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

    The groups say Canadian military police did not properly investigate officers responsible for directing the transfer of detainees to Afghan authorities, allegedly at the risk of torture.

    Transferring prisoners between countries knowing they likely face torture is considered a war crime.

    In the House of Commons, Liberal MP Bob Rae called the document delays part of a “Conservative culture of deceit.”

  3. Nato troops kill unarmed Afghan teens

    Web posted at: 4/21/2010 2:40:40

    Source ::: REUTERS

    KHOST: Nato troops opened fire on a vehicle in southeast Afghanistan, killing four unarmed Afghans, the alliance said yesterday, the latest in a series of recent incidents the United Nations has called disturbing.

    The father of two of the victims said three of those killed were teenagers and the fourth was a policeman. They were returning from a volleyball match, added Rahmatullah Mansoor, a judge in Khost’s provincial court. Nato initially said two were “known insurgents” but later acknowledged all may have been civilians.

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai strongly condemned the incident in a written statement saying the four were civilians and the act went against foreign troops’ commitment to protect the public.

    The issue of civilian casualties caused by foreign forces is an emotive one in Afghanistan and has undermined public support for their presence in the country. In the latest incident, troops fired on the vehicle after it accelerated towards their convoy in Khost province and ignored light signals and warning shots, the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force said in a statement.

    “The vehicle continued to accelerate. Several rounds were fired in an attempt to disable the vehicle, and finally shots were fired into the vehicle itself,” Nato said in the statement.

    The statement described the four as including two “known insurgents” and two “associates”. A spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Todd Vician, later said the two had been described as insurgents because they were found in the military’s vast biometric database.

    The database includes tens of thousands of civilians as well as suspected insurgents, and Vician acknowledged that the two could have been civilians included for another reason. None of the four were armed and no weapons were found, he said.

    Relatives and friends of the victims gathered in Khost, the provincial capital to bury the dead. One body, filmed by Reuters television, was clearly that of a young teenage boy.

    Rahmatullah Mansoor said his two sons and two nephews were returning from a volleyball match in Gorbaz district when Nato troops opened fire on their car.

    His sons, Faizullah, 14, and Nasratullah, 17, and one of his nephews, Maiwand, 15, were schoolboys, Mansoor told Reuters. His other nephew in the car, Amrullah, was a policeman in his 20s who worked in Khost’s prison, he said.

    Members of the Afghan security forces would normally be included in the Nato military biometric database.

    “They (international troops) saw that there were four young boys in the car and opened fire on them. I think it was an intentional act,” Mansoor said.

  4. Pingback: NATO kills Afghan children again | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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