NATO air raid ‘kills Afghan civilians’


This video, ´Children of Conflict, looks at the misery, poverty and never ending internal conflict that is the lot of Afghan children.´

From the BBC:

Nato air raid ‘kills civilians’

At least 13 Afghan civilians have been killed in a Nato air strike near Kabul, a provincial official says.

Thirteen others were injured, the head of Wardak provincial council said. …

Wardak provincial council head Haji Hazrat Janan said he had visited the site of the bombing raid in Jalrez district, bordering Kabul province.

Local people had told him 11 members of one family were among those killed, he said. Two others had also died and 13 were injured.

One man he spoke to said his wife and his daughter-in-law were killed in the attack and that the body of a child had also been recovered from the rubble.

“The only survivor from the family is a man who is hospitalised and can’t speak,” Haji Janan said, Reuters news agency reports.

There is no military solution to the struggle against Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan, according to Britain’s most senior armed forces leader. See here.

The danger posed to Afghan children by continued fighting is greater now than it’s ever been since the war began in 2002, a UNICEF official said Thursday: here.

3 thoughts on “NATO air raid ‘kills Afghan civilians’

  1. Afghan family killed in Western raid, official says

    Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:39pm EDT

    PUL-I-ALAM, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Western forces have killed eleven members of an Afghan family in an air strike near Kabul, the head of a provincial council said on Tuesday.

    Civilian casualties in Afghanistan fuel resentment of foreign forces and the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai who has repeatedly beseeched U.S. and NATO troops to do everything they can to minimize civilian deaths.

    “We welcomed the international community to Afghanistan to launch a joint campaign against terrorism and the Taliban,” Karzai told Chanel 4 News on a visit to London.

    “But six years on the continuation of civilian casualties is something the Afghan people cannot understand, and rightly so,” he added. “It is becoming increasingly a difficult subject for us and is going to cause friction.”

    Provincial council leader Haji Janan told Reuters the latest incident occurred on Monday in Jalrez, 30 km (20 miles) west of the capital.

    “In the bombardment … 11 people from one family, including women and children were killed,” Janan said.

    “The only survivor from the family is a man who is hospitalized and can’t speak,” he said. Eleven neighbors were wounded, he added.

    NATO said it had carried out an air raid against militants in a remote area of Wardak province, to the southwest of Kabul, killing a number of insurgents.

    An alliance spokesman said preliminary indications showed there were no civilian casualties. He said NATO was checking media reports that non-combatants had been killed.

    Violence in Afghanistan has increased sharply in the past two years, the bloodiest period since Taliban’s removal in 2001.

    Taliban fighters have spread into Wardak in recent months and have been launching regular attacks on Afghan forces, and sometimes on Western troops.

    Figures supplied by the United Nations, Afghan officials and foreign forces indicate more than 7,000 people have been killed in the past two years, many of them insurgents but also including hundreds of civilians.

    More than 370 civilians have been killed this year during operations by Western forces against militants, according to estimates by aid workers and Afghan officials.

    Western forces dispute such estimates but say some civilians have been killed, mostly when the Taliban attack from civilian houses.

    Faced with criticism over rampant corruption, insecurity, booming drugs cultivation and perceived lack of development, Karzai has warned that civilian deaths would be risky for his government and the presence of foreign troops in the country.

    Separately, one NATO soldier was killed and two others were wounded during fighting with Taliban insurgents in the violent eastern Kunar province on Tuesday, a military statement said.

    It said the wounded soldiers were in stable condition.

    One U.S-led coalition soldier was killed and another was wounded in a vehicle accident in the Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province on Tuesday, the U.S military said.

    (additional reporting by Jeremy Lovell in London)

    © Reuters 2007

    http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSISL10862920071023?sp=true

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  2. Diggers pull out of Afghan battle

    October 28, 2007 06:31am
    Article from: AAP

    AUSTRALIAN troops, who feared many civilian casualties in an Afghan operation, refused to take part in the Dutch-led assault on advancing Taliban militia.

    The battle left dozens of innocent Afghans dead, Fairfax newspapers said.

    Australian officers were involved in planning the battle, but pulled out of the June operation as it would contravene Australia’s rules of engagement.

    The operation was in the same area where SAS Regiment Sergeant Matthew Locke was killed last week.

    Almost 70 civilians died when Dutch forces fought a 500-strong Taliban assault in the Chora Valley.

    The fighting occurred 30km from the Australian and Dutch base at Tarin Kowt in Oruzgan province.

    The civilians died in a storm of bombing and artillery fire, human rights investigators report.

    The Australian Defence Force issued two statements days after the battle, saying Australian troops were not involved in the fighting.

    Defence Minister Brendan Nelson and senior military officers expressed concern about civilian casualties in the battle, the statements revealed.

    The army’s Lieutenant-General Peter Leahy has reiterated Australia’s commitment to avoiding civilian deaths wherever possible.

    “Nothing undermines the credibility of our efforts more than the unintended killing of civilians,” he said.

    Sergeant Locke was killed on Thursday, day one of a major allied offensive in the Chora Valley, the site of repeated Taliban clashes.

    Australian SAS troops, including Sergeant Locke, fought some battles alongside Dutch forces before they withdrew from Afghanistan in September last year.

    At the time, Australian officers said the SAS cleared out the insurgents in the valley and Mr Nelson said the region was stable.

    ——-

    AUSTRALIAN troops, fearing widespread civilian casualties, refused to take part in a Dutch-led assault on advancing Taliban militia — a battle that left dozens of innocent Afghans dead.

    The Sunday Age can reveal that Australian officers were involved in initial planning for the battle, but pulled out when they realised the June operation — in the same district where SAS Sergeant Matthew Locke was killed last week — would contravene our rules of engagement, which determine when lethal force can be used.

    Most of the 60 to 70 civilians killed when Dutch forces repelled a 500-strong Taliban assault in the Chora Valley, 30 kilometres from the Australian and Dutch base at Tarin Kowt in Oruzgan province, died as a result of bombing and artillery fire, human rights investigators have found.

    In the days after the battle, the Australian Defence Force issued two statements stressing Australian troops were not involved in the fighting. In the carefully worded statements, Defence Minister Brendan Nelson and senior military officers expressed concern about civilian casualties in the battle.

    The chief of the Australian Army, Lieutenant-General Peter Leahy, last week reiterated Australia’s commitment to avoiding civilian deaths wherever possible. “Nothing undermines the credibility of our efforts more than the unintended killing of civilians,” he said.

    Concerned for the safety of local residents, coalition forces warned tribal leaders before launching last week’s campaign against the Taliban that claimed the life of Sergeant Locke.

    He was killed on Thursday, day one of a major allied offensive in the Chora Valley, the site of repeated Taliban clashes.

    The offensive, said to be the biggest yet in Oruzgan, involves up to 1500 troops, from Australian, Dutch, Afghan and British forces, and Nepalese Gurkhas.

    The Netherlands Defence Ministry said the operation aimed to improve security before winter in an area where the Taliban were operating freely, blocking reconstruction and oppressing civilians.

    Australian SAS troops, including Sergeant Locke, had fought a series of intense battles alongside Dutch forces in and around the valley before they were withdrawn from Afghanistan in September last year.

    At the time, Australian officers said the SAS had cleared the valley of insurgents, while Dr Nelson declared Oruzgan to be “relatively stable”.

    But the Dutch and the Afghan armies had insufficient troops to secure the area, allowing the Taliban to move back in — a recurring pattern elsewhere in Afghanistan. As security deteriorated, the SAS were sent back to the area in April this year.

    Prime Minister John Howard yesterday repeated Government calls for NATO countries such as Germany, Italy, France and Spain to send troops to Afghanistan’s violent south.

    While he said US, British, Canadian, Dutch and Australian troops were “doing the really heavy lifting”, other NATO forces were confined to the more secure northern provinces.

    Mr Howard praised the “very courageous” Dutch Government, which is under domestic pressure to withdraw its troops when their mission expires next August.

    But chances of a Dutch pull-out have diminished after the Netherlands extracted promises of extra troops from a meeting of NATO defence ministers last week.

    While the numbers are small, they are politically significant and include a French promise of troops to train Afghan forces in Oruzgan, and offers from Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Non-NATO members including Georgia, Albania and Croatia have also offered troops.

    The reinforcements will add to the complexities of a diverse military coalition where each member has its own rules of engagement. The challenge was highlighted in the June battle.

    The Dutch, fearing a small outpost was about to be overrun by Taliban forces, planned to use air strikes and artillery against the guerillas.

    An investigation by an Afghan human rights agency, overseen by the UN mission in Afghanistan, found most of the 60 to 70 civilians killed in the fighting died under Dutch fire.

    Particularly controversial is the use of Dutch artillery, which fired high explosive shells into the Chora Valley from Tarin Kowt, 30 kilometres away.

    In the case of the fighting in the Chora Valley from June 16 to 19, The Sunday Age believes a key issue for the Australians was the inability to discriminate between civilians and the Taliban, who had occupied local houses.

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the Dutch decision to fire from such a distance was bound to claim civilian lives.

    In his speech last Wednesday, General Leahy said: “In complex urban terrain there is a constant risk of striking innocent civilians.” But the army had learnt that “unless we can provide pervasive security without inflicting collateral damage on the … population, our supposed strengths can be turned into glaring weaknesses”.

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/diggers-say-no-to-allies-plan/2007/10/27/1192941402565.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

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  3. On “The quagmire deepens in Afghanistan”

    I would just like to say that I came across your story online and could really feel myself actually being there while the situation was happening. You really make true life seem real. I only wish the British Government would also seek to believe what is true.

    This may not have anything to do with the subject, but I wish to speak freely. I am a 24-year-old female British citizen. I have been here in Kabul, Afghanistan, since May 4, 2006, along with my daughter, who is now two years and eight months old. We have come here to be with my husband, who was deported from the UK when our daughter was 10 weeks old. My then fiancé was later refused a visitor’s visa on two occasions to coincide with our daughter’s first Christmas and then again on her first birthday. I needed to keep my family together. I wanted my daughter and her father to make their bond while she was young. I believed that if we left it too late then my daughter would never have taken to her father.

    However, life in Afghanistan is terrible. We are constantly on edge. We have nearly been caught up in a few suicide bombings, and we were also caught up in the middle of the demonstration that happened on May 29, 2006, due to US soldiers killing four Afghan citizens as they veered off the road while under the influence. At least that is what the news led us to believe. We are honestly grateful that our father in Heaven has been watching over us.

    However, we are still awaiting the outcome of my husband’s visa application, The British consulate in Pakistan has refused my husband entry clearance to the UK to live with me on a permanent basis there. So we have lodged an appeal, but there is still no news on the appeal hearing date. To this day we are still unclear about our future.

    Yes, it is simple for my daughter and I to go back to the UK, as everyone is telling us to do. However, no one can seem to understand what it will do to myself and my husband and our daughter to be split up again. It would totally tear us apart. We just want to go back home all together and live our lives free from fear.

    ALGA

    Kabul, Afghanistan

    22 October 2007

    http://wsws.org/articles/2007/oct2007/corr-o31.shtml

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