Pentagon keeps killing Afghan civilians


This Associated Press video says about itself:

First anniversary of deadly NATO airstrike

SHOTLIST

Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

1. Mid of site where airstrike on tankers happened
FILE: Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 05 September 2009

2. Former NATO commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal visiting the site a day after strike, burnt tanker in background

3. Mid of McChrystal and other NATO officials

4. Various of destroyed tanker
Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

5. Zoom out of site

6. Mid of children playing at site
Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 27 August 2010

7. Wide of locals in Char Dara district

8. House of Haji Abdul Basir, who lost three of his sons and one of his grandsons in the strike

9. Various of Basir’s family

10. SOUNDBITE (Dari) Haji Abdul Basir, father and grand father of strike victims:

“Germany is our biggest enemy; they bombed us because of the two fuel tankers. If they hadn’t done what they did we would have been ready to sell our lands and pay them the cost of the tankers.”

11. Mid of Basir’s grandchild
Kunduz city, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

12. SOUNDBITE (Dari) Hayatullah Khan, provincial director for Afghan Human Rights Commission in Kunduz:

“From the day after the incident, the commission started its investigation on the incident. After ongoing meetings with German PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) in Kunduz and meeting officials from German Defence ministry, we asked them if they could help the families of the victims in a way to repent for what happened and we also asked them to make sure there will not be anymore civilian casualties in future military operations.”

Kunduz city, Kunduz province – 31 August 2010

13. Wide shot of NATO military base in Kunduz province

14. SOUNDBITE (German) Major Stephen Wessel, German military spokesman in Kunduz:

“The one who did that from a military point of view at the time, who was responsible, had his reasons to act as he had decided. I can’t say anything more than this at this point.”

15. Close of hands

16. SOUNDBITE (German) Major Stephen Wessel, German military spokesman in Kunduz:

“The German army supported financially the victims’ relatives we could research and concerning this, the compensation to the victims’ relatives is now over. There are no further intention of support from the German army’s side. Beyond that, there are some further projects to support, but the security situation here in the region doesn’t allow for it at the moment.”
Kunduz city, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

17. Wide of police checking cars and people in Kunduz city, rifle in foreground

18. Various shots of police checking car

19. Wide of checkpoint

STORYLINE

A year after a German-ordered airstrike on two tankers in Afghanistan that is believed to have killed scores of civilians, families in Char Dara are remembering their relatives.

On 4th September 2009, German Colonel Georg Klein ordered the NATO airstrike against two tanker trucks that had been seized by Taliban insurgents near Kunduz, fearing they could be used to attack troops.

The attack in the northern Afghan province killed up to 142 people, many of them civilians.

German officials have said the Taliban may have been planning a suicide attack on the military’s base using the hijacked tankers.

A year on, 65-year old Haji Abdul Basir was embittered by the incident which took the lives of his three sons and one of his grandsons.

“Germany is our biggest enemy they bombed us because of the two fuel tankers. If they hadn’t done what they did we would have been ready to sell our lands and pay them the cost of tankers,” said Basir.

Hayatullah Khan, the provincial director of the commission added that the issue of the civilian casualties in the military operations still remains a concern for them.

That was 2009-2010 in Char Dara district in Afghanistan.

Now, over eight years later, the bloodshed of Char Dara civilians has not stopped.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

US airstrikes kill dozens of Afghan civilians

7 November 2017

Reports from local officials and Afghan legislators have exposed mass civilian casualties in an offensive carried out last weekend by US and Afghan puppet forces in northern Kunduz province.

Some reports have put the death toll from the bombing raids in the Char Dara district at over 60, with women and children among the victims.

The Pentagon acknowledged that US forces had carried out an operation in Kunduz province, issuing its standard response, asserting that it “takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously” and is investigating the reports.

The area of the attacks was west of the provincial capital of Kunduz, in a rural district where the Taliban has long maintained control.

According to the News International, Pakistan’s largest English language daily, Afghan security forces surrounded the three villages where the air strikes had taken place—Essa Khil, Qatl-e Aam and Uzbek Bazar—preventing relatives from collecting the bodies of their loved ones and interfering with any attempt to discover the precise death toll.

Khosh Mohammad Nasratyar, a provincial council member, gave an estimate of 55 civilians killed, while an Afghan aid worker in the area said the dead numbered at least 40. Others said that more than 60 had died.

President Ashraf Ghani has made no comment on the slaughter in Kunduz. His predecessor, Hamid Karzai, however, strongly condemned the air strikes, demanding an investigation and the prosecution of those responsible. Karzai, who left the presidential palace three years ago, has been strongly critical of the escalating US war in Afghanistan, accusing Washington of wanting to prolong the bloodshed in Afghanistan as a means of pursuing its own strategic interests in the region.

The latest air strikes were among the most intense in recent months, rattling windows in Kunduz city, which in 2015 was the scene of one of the bloodiest aerial massacres carried out by the US military in the course of its 16-year-old war in Afghanistan. In October of that year, a US AC-130U gunship carried out a protracted attack on a Doctors Without Borders medical center that left 42 dead, 33 missing and 30 wounded amid ghastly scenes of patients burning to death in their hospital beds.

Since US President Donald Trump announced a new Afghanistan strategy in August, ceding to the military brass the authority to set troop levels and guaranteeing the Pentagon “the necessary tools and rules of engagement” to escalate what is now America’s longest war, there has been a marked intensification of the bloodletting that has claimed at least 175,000 Afghan lives and turned millions into refugees.

This has come mainly as a result of intensified air strikes. In its October report on civilian casualties, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported that the number of civilians dying as a result of bombs and missiles dropped on the country from US and Afghan government aircraft had soared by 52 percent during the first nine months of 2017, compared to the same period last year.

The Pentagon is also increasing troop levels in the country, reportedly sending at least 3,000 more soldiers and Marines, bringing the official strength of the US occupation force to roughly 15,000. According to a recently disclosed Pentagon report, the US is now spending some $3.2 billion a month on the Afghanistan war, with that figure expected to rise along with the ongoing escalation.

The CIA is also reportedly expanding its role in the Afghan war, seeking authorization to initiate its own drone strikes inside Afghanistan—previously it had been restricted to cross-border missile strikes against Pakistan—and to organize “hunt and kill” militias to carry out assassinations and massacres in Taliban-held areas of the country.

In the midst of the US escalation, a prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) has formally requested judicial authorization to open an investigation into war crimes carried out in connection with the protracted US war in Afghanistan.

The situation in Afghanistan has been the subject of a “preliminary examination” by the ICC for over a decade, during which countless crimes have been carried out against the Afghan people. Both Washington and its puppet government in Kabul have strongly opposed the court’s moving forward toward any investigation and potential charges.

Among charges that the prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, intends to pursue are that the CIA and the US military, along with the Afghan security forces, engaged in the systematic torture of detainees as a matter of state policy.

A Preliminary Examination Report issued last year charged that the US intelligence agency and the Pentagon “resorted to techniques amounting to the commission of the war crimes of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity and rape.” It specifically cited the cases of 61 individual detainees subjected to torture on Afghan territory between 2003 and 2014 by the US military, as well as those of 21 detainees of the CIA who were tortured, abused and raped both in Afghanistan and at CIA “black sites” in Poland, Romania and Lithuania.

The ICC prosecutor’s office stressed that these crimes were “not the abuses of a few isolated individuals,” but rather were carried out in pursuit of “US objectives in the conflict in Afghanistan.”

Since its foundation in 2000, the US has refused to participate in the ICC, out of justifiable fear that US civilian and military officials could end up in the dock for crimes carried out by the Pentagon and the CIA in the multiple US wars and interventions waged in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and beyond. Legislation passed in 2002, the American Service Members Protection Act (dubbed the “Hague Invasion Act”), bars any cooperation from Washington on charges brought against US war criminals and authorizes the US president to employ military force to rescue any American military or intelligence personnel detained by ICC prosecutors.

The Obama administration also imposed upon Washington’s Afghan puppet regime a 2014 Status of Forces Agreement that bars any transfer of Americans accused of war crimes to any international tribunal, granting Washington sole jurisdiction over its own personnel operating in Afghanistan.

While Obama defended the CIA torturers who operated under the Bush administration, Trump has publicly declared his support for waterboarding and other forms of torture. While there has been no official US reaction to the ICC prosecutor’s request for authorization to pursue an investigation, it is clear that Washington will do everything it can to suppress such a probe.

CIA’s military role in Afghan morass shows need for open democracy in age of hidden violence: here.

The U.S. is on track to have dropped three times as many bombs on Afghanistan this year than last.

US bombing of Afghanistan up by 300 percent: here.

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