Afghans demonstrate against US soldiers killing women


US troops in Afghanistan, cartoon by Ted Rall

By Benjamin Sand:

Sunday 29th April, 2007

Hundreds of outraged protesters chanted anti-American slogans in eastern Afghanistan after U.S. and Afghan forces accidentally killed two female civilians.

This kind of thing happens too often to believe it is purely accidental.

… A young child and a teenage female were wounded during the firefight …

The incident provoked a massive protest in the area. Hundreds of local men chanted “death to Bush” and temporarily blocked the region’s main highway.

This is the second time in recent weeks that U.S. led forces are being blamed for civilian casualties in Nangarhar, one of the key battleground states in the fight against the five year old Taleban insurgency.

On March 4, U.S. Marines killed 12 people after being attacked by a suicide car bomber.

Local eyewitnesses say the American forces fired indiscriminately into groups of Afghan cars and pedestrians as they tried to escape the ambush.

The U.S. military subsequently determined the Marines used excessive force in the incident and the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission recently accused the Marines of violating international humanitarian law.

2 thoughts on “Afghans demonstrate against US soldiers killing women

  1. Oct. 12, 2007, 12:25AM
    Marine tribunal to probe shooting of Afghan civilians

    By ESTES THOMPSON
    Associated Press

    RALEIGH, N.C. — The Marine Corps said Thursday it would use a rare legal tribunal not employed in decades to try to uncover exactly what happened when a team of special operations troops in Afghanistan opened fire and killed as many as 19 civilians.

    The Corps will convene the court of inquiry at Camp Lejeune to investigate the March 4 shooting on a road in Nangahar province, the Marine Corps Forces Central Command said. The Marines last used the administrative fact-finding process in 1956 to investigate a drill sergeant who marched a group of recruits into a South Carolina creek, where six died.

    No Marines have been charged in the shooting, said Lt. Col. Sean Gibson, a spokesman for the Marine Corps at the U.S. Central Command, which includes Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The members of the court will be appointed by Lt. Gen. James Mattis, the top Marine officer at Central Command, who will review their findings before deciding whether criminal charges are warranted.

    Typically, a general or other commanding officer would simply review an investigative report and make a decision on whether charges are necessary.

    Gibson said Mattis ordered the inquiry because he “wanted all available information in this incident reviewed by a group of senior officers with combat experience who, because of their mature and unique perspective, could provide him with the best possible evaluation.”

    Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission has said the shooting occurred along a 10-mile stretch of road after a minivan laden with explosives rammed a convoy of troops from the 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion. Witnesses told the commission the Marines fired indiscriminately at civilian cars and pedestrians.

    Initial reports pegged the number of dead at 10 or 12. In May, Army Col. John Nicholson, a brigade commander in the 10th Mountain Division, said officials had gone to great lengths to trace down all who might have been injured along the crowded highway and concluded 19 died and 50 were injured.

    Nicholson also said he was deeply ashamed of the killings and that the military has made condolence payments of about $2,000 for each death. The next week, Marine Corps commandant Gen. James T. Conway said Nicholson’s apology was premature because an investigation remained under way.

    Eight Marines, including the company commander and senior sergeant, were ordered back to Camp Lejeune after the shooting. The rest of the unit also was ordered to leave Afghanistan, returning to the ships of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit in the Persian Gulf.

    The public sessions of the court of inquiry will be held at Camp Lejeune, the home base of the unit involved. No date has been announced for what is likely to be a two-week proceeding.

    The Navy last used this kind of special panel in 2001 to examine what happened when the nuclear attack submarine USS Greeneville surfaced and rammed the Ehmie Maru, a Japanese fishing boat. The Ehmie Maru quickly sank, killing nine men and teenage boys.

    An Air Force spokesman said his branch of service hadn’t used a court of inquiry in at least 25 years. It wasn’t immediately known when the Army last used the court of inquiry, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Tallman said.

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  2. Pingback: US bombs kill Afghan children, women | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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