Afghans protest NATO civilian killings

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

From British daily The Morning Star:

Afghan citizens march to condemn NATO killings

Thursday 21 January 2010

Hundreds of Afghan citizens have rallied in Ghazni city after NATO soldiers allegedly gunned down a father, his two young sons and a neighbour.

The angry demonstrators collected the wooden coffins holding the bodies from a local hospital and bore them atop vehicles in a procession towards administrative offices.

Witnesses reported that Western troops had descended on the Qara Bagh district of Ghazni province in helicopters and stormed two houses at about 10pm on Wednesday.

Musa Jalali and other residents of Baram village insisted that the raiders had killed a father and his two sons, both under the age of seven, along with a neighbour – even though they weren’t armed.

NATO acknowledged that it had “conducted an operation” in the area, but said that the dead had been “insurgents.”

Mohammad Ismail Ibrahimzai, head of the provincial hospital where the bodies were initially taken, said: “Doctors told me that there were two children among the bodies brought to hospital.”

Provincial deputy police chief Abdul Rehman Shaidayee said that four people had been killed and that they were investigating claims of civilian casualties.

A spate of civilian deaths at the hands of foreign forces have fuelled distrust between the Afghan population, the government and US and NATO troops.

Another protest following more alleged civilian killings, this time in Ghazni province northeast of Kandahar. What is especially noteworthy about this incident is that ground forces are once again the perpetrators. This is in fact another in a series of incidents involving ground troops, whereas only a few months ago, civilian casualties by foreign forces were nearly all caused by airstrikes. So it appears that new more aggressive (or at least more numerous) ground force operations have become the principle source of civilian casualties by foreign forces: here.

The commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, US General Stanley McChrystal, gave an interview to the German newspaper Bild on Wednesday, calling for more commitment by Germany to the US-led war: here.

Afghanistan: Women Dying and Torture Run Amuck: here.

In northern Afghanistan, far away from the Taliban’s heartland, freedom remains elusive for most women: here.

Britain: Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Tory leader David Cameron haggled over spending cuts while cynically backing ever-increased spending on the disastrous war in Afghanistan: here.

Experts on Afghanistan doubt survey on foreign occupation: results are impossible: here.

Only a fourth of the ongoing corruption investigations by U.S. oversight officials in Afghanistan are strictly targeting Afghan suspects, the top U.S. investigator in Afghanistan said Tuesday in Kabul. The other three-fourths are investigating transactions that involve at least one Western suspect: here.

2 thoughts on “Afghans protest NATO civilian killings

  1. Next Wednesday, President Obama will give his first State of the Union address. It’s a safe bet he’ll discuss the Afghanistan war. You probably recall that the President recently committed to start drawing down troops in Afghanistan in July 2011.

    Setting a target date for the start of a withdrawal is a good step, but if we are going to make the president’s commitment into a reality, we need a concrete exit strategy.

    Please take a moment to sign our petition to tell the President that you want him to describe a real exit strategy for Afghanistan during his State of the Union speech.

    A concrete exit plan will lay the groundwork that will help make President Obama’s commitment to a draw-down a reality. Our country cannot afford to keep spending billions of dollars on a war that’s not making us safer. Staunching the flow of American blood and treasure into the Afghanistan war will be essential to the success of the Obama presidency and to getting our economy back on track. We need more than a date. We need a plan.

    Please sign the petition today. If we get 10,000 signatures, we’ll deliver them to the White House on Monday. Your signature will help put us on a defined path to the end of the war in Afghanistan.


    Derrick Crowe

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  2. Canadian troops killed 4 civilians in Afghanistan in ’09: Forces report

    Colin Perkel

    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — The Canadian Press Published on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010 3:16PM EST Last updated on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010 3:40PM EST

    Canadian soldiers struggling to contain the Taliban insurgency in southern Afghanistan killed four civilians last year, according to military figures obtained by The Canadian Press.

    The deaths occurred when the soldiers felt compelled to open fire in what is known as an escalation of force.

    “There were three incidents of escalation of force that led to four civilian deaths caused by CF soldiers,” the military said.

    “That being said, in all three cases, the investigations determined that the rules of engagement were followed.”

    The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, an arm of the military police, provided no further details on the incidents.

    Under the rules of engagement, Canadian soldiers first attempt to defuse potentially threatening situations by non-lethal means.

    That means, for example, ordering a vehicle to stop or firing warning shots before shooting to kill.

    “Canada makes every reasonable effort to ensure the safety of Afghan civilians,” the military said.

    “Unfortunately, the Taliban’s tactics of hiding among local populations makes it difficult to entirely eliminate the risk to civilians.”

    Despite repeated requests, the military provided no figures on the number of civilians who were seriously injured as a result of Canadian action.

    However, one source said there were several injuries. Some were the result of traffic mishaps involving Canadian armoured vehicles.

    In at least one case, a 14-year-old girl in Kandahar was seriously injured when a Canadian soldier fired a warning shot.

    Probes of use of force involving death or serious injury to non-combatants fall to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service.

    In 2009, 32 Canadian soldiers and one civilian – Michelle Lang, a reporter for the Calgary Herald – were killed, most by insurgent-laid improvised explosive devices. Scores more were wounded.

    The four deaths at Canadian hands were among a record 2,412 civilian casualties in 2009, a 14 per cent increase over 2008, according to United Nations figures.

    That made last year the deadliest yet for civilians since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001.

    Most of the deaths, 67 per cent, were blamed on the insurgency. International forces accounted for 596 of the deaths, or 25 per cent.

    Civilian deaths have become an increasingly touchy subject in Afghanistan, prompting recent demonstrations as well as fierce criticism from President Hamid Karzai.

    They have also become a major source of insurgent propaganda.

    Most of the deaths caused by international forces have been result of U.S. airstrikes.

    Canada does not carry out aerial bombardments.


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