This video is called Afghan protest against killing civilians in Kunar- 31 Dec. 2009, Kabul.
Afghan Probe Finds Nato Guilty Of Civilian Deaths
Friday February 25, 2011 17:57:00 EST
An Afghan government probe into deaths caused by a recent Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operation in a remote mountainous district has concluded that the action claimed the lives of 65 civilians including 50 women and children, reports said on Friday.
Following last week’s attack carried out by Nato Apache helicopters in north-eastern Kunar province, the local Governor said several civilians had indeed been killed in the airstrike.
The operation was held as part of a three-day offensive carried out against Taliban mlitants. The fierce battle lasting close to five hours was fought on rough terrain under the cover of darkness.
However, the ISAF had remained in denial mode over civilian casualties in the operation. The ISAF also claimed that some 30 insurgents had been killed in the operation.
As for the charge of mass slaughter, ISAF termed it a propoganda story latched on to by politicians in Kabul for deriving political mileage out of it. Nato officials also claimed that village elders may have burnt the feet of young children to make it appear that they were involved in skirmishes with ISAF troops.
The charge was reportedly repeated at a meeting this week between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Gen. David Petraeus, the top US commander in Afghanistan. A Presidential spokesman later slammed the remark calling it “outrageous, insulting and racist.”
Further, the Afghan government probe found that the victims were charred beyond recognition and were buried in a mass grave.
Analysts say the apparent contradiction in the version of events will only help deepen the rift between the Karzai administration and the ISAF. Already, there is considerable dismay among Afghans over the alleged unilateral aggression on the part of foreign troops.
See also here.
The New York Times reports today that the US military has begun pulling back from the Pech Valley, an area they once considered crucial to their counterinsurgency strategy. At least 103 American soldiers have been killed in the area, and many more wounded. While the piece doesn’t include statistics on Afghan deaths and injuries, one can only assume they were also significant: here.
Rolling Stone magazine has a provocative article on the streets right now, alleging that U.S. commanders in Afghanistan ordered “information operations” specialists to use their techniques not on the Taliban or on Afghans, but to help persuade visiting U.S. politicians to keep backing the war effort. When one of the officers involved questioned the policy, he found himself under investigation in what seems to have been a spiteful act of punishment: here.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates bluntly told an audience of West Point cadets on Friday that it would be unwise for the United States to ever fight another war like Iraq or Afghanistan, and that the chances of carrying out a change of government in that fashion again were slim: here.
Christopher Hellman, TomDispatch: “What if you went to a restaurant and found it rather pricey? Still, you ordered your meal and, when done, picked up the check only to discover that it was almost twice the menu price. Welcome to the world of the real U.S. national security budget. Normally, in media accounts, you hear about the Pentagon budget and the war-fighting supplementary funds passed by Congress for our conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. That already gets you into a startling price range – close to $700 billion for 2012 – but that’s barely more than half of it. If Americans were ever presented with the real bill for the total U.S. national security budget, it would actually add up to more than $1.2 trillion a year”: here.
On February 20, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) chief, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, announced the death in Afghanistan of the twenty-third Australian soldier killed there since operations began in support of the US-led invasion and occupation in 2001: here.
John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus: “Some animals should be endangered. Consider the V-22 Osprey. The tilt-rotor aircraft, which takes off like a helicopter but flies like a plane, costs more than a $100 million apiece, killed 30 personnel in crashes during its development stage, and survived four attempts by none other than Dick Cheney to deep-six the program. Although it is no longer as crash-prone as it once was, the Osprey’s performance in Iraq was still sub-par and it remains a woefully expensive creature. Although canceling the program would save the U.S. government $10-12 billion over the next decade, the Osprey somehow avoided the budget axe in the latest round of cuts on Capitol Hill”: here.