" Universal Community of Friends - U.S. HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE WAR AGAINST AFGHANISTAN

U.S. HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

IN THE WAR AGAINST AFGHANISTAN

THESE ARE THE ONES WE HEAR ABOUT ON U.S. MEDIA

(There may be many, many more)

U.S. War Crimes Against Afghanistan

U.S. bombs have killed at least 3,767 civilians in Afghanistan!

(estimate is up to 4,000 - January 29th, 2002)

Prisoner Torture and Massacres in Afghanistan


"We are not innocent of making war against civilian populations. The modern doctrine of such warfare was set forth and enacted by General William Tecumseh Sherman, who held that a civilian population could be declared guilty and rightly subjected to military punishment. We have never repudiated that doctrine." Wendell Berry

War, by its very nature, victimizes innocent civilians. It kills, maims, murders, cripples, orphans, widows, and destroys innocent people and their property. This has always been the case and is a well known fact. Despite their assurances that they are trying real hard to avoid civilian casualties, which they refer to as "collateral damage" as "murder" doesn't sound very good, the military know that they will kill innocent people, perhaps hundreds of thousands of them before they finish yet another needless war. For example, World War II ended with the nuclear bombing of two cities crowded with innocent civilians.

To this day, U.S. military personnel justify the mass murders and insinuate that they are willing to do it again. The Vietnam war involved the deaths of 2 million Vietnamese, mostly civilians (3% of the casualties were American). Some American Vietnam vets, to this day, lament that they could not have killed more people there.

The Korean war killed 3 million Asians, mostly civilians. Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have been tortured, brutalized and killed in Central America under the U.S. backed and trained guerilla armies and death squads during the Reagan/Bush administrations. 100,000 were killed in El Salvador alone between 1980 and 1992 as the U.S. funneled a million dollars a day to finance El Salvador's war of terror against its own people. The U.S. bombed a civilian neighborhood during its illegal invasion of Panama. The UN estimates that a million people, mostly civilians, have died as a direct result of U.S. imposed sanctions against Iraq between 1991 and 1997 alone, following the Gulf War, which itself is estimated to have killed between 100,000 and 200,000 Iraqis, many of them civilians. The use of war to pursue justice for a crime against civilians, such as the Trade Tower bombings, is an immoral and senseless crime in itself.

Perhaps the military mentality is best summed up by a quote from a military person, recently sent to us by email: "As a former paratrooper and combat veteran, I can assure you that the United States has not, since WW2, targeted civilians. If there are unfortunate civilian deaths, those are the fortunes of war. I am confident that we will prevail. If our enemy cowardly hides behind civilians, kill them all, God will know His own."

In Bush's war against Afghanistan, the US began a series of murderous human rights violations almost immediately. We will keep a record of them on this page. Please email us with any additional ones which we have not been made aware of! Undoubtedly, this is only the tip of a tragic iceberg!

Dates are when the reports were broadcast over American media:

October 7th: Bombings start

Mid October: U.S. Bombs residential neighborhood in Kabul

Mid October: U.S. bombs Red Cross Buildings (in Kabul?)

October 21: U.S. bombs and kills ten year old son of Taliban leader

Bomb is also dropped through roof of boy's school, doesn't explode.

October 22: U.S. allegedly bombs hospital, killing 100

October 22: Taliban announce that over 1,000 civilians have now been killed by the US.

October 23 (Washington Post): US accidentally drops 1,000 pound bomb on senior citizens home in Herat. Estimated killed: 100.

U.S. also drops two 500 pound bombs on residential area over northwest Kabul.

October 25 (NPR): U.S. accidentally bombs civilian bus

October 27 (NJ Star Ledger): U.S. accidentally bombs UN building in Kabul killing United Nations bomb sniffing dogs used to remove land mines.

Saturday October 27, 2001, The Guardian:

Civilians wounded in allied bombing raids are fleeing into Pakistan for treatment because the medical system in southern Afghanistan has effectively collapsed, refugees said yesterday. Hospitals in the city of Kandahar, the Taliban's spiritual home, are operating at a fraction of capacity despite spiraling numbers of injured because there are no longer enough trained doctors, nurses or drugs.

Parents with mutilated children have been turned away and told to hire smugglers to take them across the border to Quetta, a Pakistani frontier city at least six hours away by car. Refugees interviewed in Quetta's civil hospital yesterday said they were the lucky ones. Those too wounded or poor to make the journey have been left to die in their homes in Kandahar. "It is unbelievable, there were no surgeons available when we visited hospitals last week. They were too afraid to work and those doctors who were there did not seem trained. They did not have enough equipment," said Abdul Halim, 30, a wheat farmer.

Some doctors had opened private clinics in their own homes and charged extortionate fees for operations, he claimed. "Those who cannot pay just go home to die." Groaning beside Mr Halim on a bed was his friend Ziaul Haq, 18, whose right foot was crushed in a bombing raid last week while scrounging for work in Kabul's Pagwanagsaj bazaar. The flesh and muscles were shredded, leaving just bone, but his family had enough money for his trip to Quetta via Kandahar. Mr Haq would not speak.

In another bed at ward B Abdul Wasaj, 10, lay absolutely still, trying not to shift his skinny frame lest it inflame the broken hip that encased his left leg in plaster. He had been playing football in front of his Kandahar home at 10am nine days ago when a bomb blast threw him several feet in the air, he said. "I heard a boom and then I went unconscious." The blast created a thick dust cloud that shrouded dozens of wounded, said his father, Ghulam Gilani, 40. "It took a while to find him because he wasn't crying out like the others were and he was buried in sand. I thought he must be dead." Mr Gilani carried his son to a hospital which could do nothing and so he took his son to Quetta, without anaesthetic. "He cried all the way."

Two miles away another hospital, the Al-khidmat Al-Hajeri, was treating survivors from the Ullah family, which buried 11 relatives in the town of Tarin Kot after an air strike last weekend. Dery Gul's two daughters suffered deep cuts but her own face was swaddled in bandages, her eyes burned. The Pentagon has admitted several bombs have gone astray since the air campaign started but the patients were convinced they had been deliberately targeted.

October 28 (NPR): U.S. accidentally bombs Ghanikhil, civilian town of the Northern Alliance, killing 13 civilians including a father and his 7 children.

October 28 (NJ Star Ledger): The UN High Commission for Refugees announces that "at the end of the day this could possibly be the worst refugee crisis we have seen in the world. Far worse than Somalia and Kosovo." The World Food Program says the logistics of delivering 52,000 tons of food per month required to feed the 6 million people at risk of starving in Afghanistan are formidable. "No, we are not very optimistic, but we are racing against the clock to prevent millions of people from starving. . . There is no question that when winter comes around we have to drop food, and that has its own difficulties with the airstrikes going on. It's not a pretty picture."


At the end of October, as a result of a lot of reports of civilian casualties by the American media, the Bush administration clamped down and suggested that such reporting should be stopped. It was then reported that CNN agreed that the reports of civilian casualties amounted to imbalanced reporting. Immediately after, the US public was warned of a "new terrorist threat." This threat was not only impending, but was to occur on the west coast. All major media groups diverted their attention from the civilian deaths in Afghanistan to the west coast, where, on November 2, 2001, all TV news stations had their cameras trained on the Golden Gate Bridge in expectation of a "terrorist attack," a ridiculous scenario when you think about it. Bombing in Afghanistan during this diversion was increased both in frequency and intensity, but reports of civilian casualties dropped to virtually nothing. This is mentioned here to illustrate the complicity of the mass media during wartime and the collusion between the major media groups and the political party in power. The impending terrorist threat was simply a diversion to break the public's attention from civilian casualties. It was hugely successful. A week later, after the ruse had been employed and succeeded, the FBI reported that there had been no credible evidence of a new terrorist threat. Although the "terrorist threat" made front page headlines, the FBI revelation didn't. Propaganda works, and it has been developed to a fine art. This is a perfect example.

October 30, 2001:

headline

November 7, 2001:

headline


Early November: Bush administration warns media to watch what they report. CNN chief suggests reports of civilian casualties amount to biased and imbalanced war coverage. Coverage of civilian war deaths and injuries subsequently plummets to almost nothing (see below). Most of the detailed information about civilian deaths now comes from the foreign press.

November 7th: USA Today reports that US cluster bombs killed one person and wounded others when they touched and set off an unexploded bomblet released from a cluster bomb in the Afghan village of Ishaq Suleman Zai. Two other Afghan children were injured when they touched an unexploded bomblet in the village of Qalashakr. USA Today reports that the Pentagon is also now using its biggest non-nuclear bomb, the 15,000 pound "Daisy Cutter" bomb, which contains 12,600 pounds of explosives, is roughly the size of a small car, incinerates anything within 1800 feet (roughly 1/3 mile) creating a shockwave that can be felt for miles.

November 13th: (Los Angeles Times): Shrapnel from U.S. bombing hit a convoy of 22 World Food Program trucks near Shaspuhl. The trucks were carrying 330 tons of food, enough to feed between 40,000 and 50,000 people for a month. Only 20% of the food is still usable.

Ten UNICEF trucks in a convoy carrying water pumps and tents for displaced civilians in Mazar-e-Sharif were stolen by the Northern Alliance.

November 29th, Commentary by Robert Fisk, The Independent, following prisoner executions in Afghanistan:

Over the past 50 years, we sat on our moral pedestal and lectured the Chinese and the Soviets, the Arabs and the Africans, about human rights. We pronounced on the human-rights crimes of Bosnians and Croatians and Serbs. We put many of them in the dock, just as we did the Nazis at Nuremberg. Thousands of dossiers were produced, describing – in nauseous detail – the secret courts and death squads and torture and extra judicial executions carried out by rogue states and pathological dictators. Quite right too.

Yet suddenly, after 11 September, we went mad. We bombed Afghan villages into rubble, along with their inhabitants – blaming the insane Taliban and Osama bin Laden for our slaughter – and now we have allowed our gruesome militia allies to execute their prisoners. President George Bush has signed into law a set of secret military courts to try and then liquidate anyone believed to be a "terrorist murderer" in the eyes of America's awesomely inefficient intelligence services. And make no mistake about it, we are talking here about legally sanctioned American government death squads. They have been created, of course, so that Osama bin Laden and his men should they be caught rather than killed, will have no public defence; just a pseudo trial and a firing squad.

It's quite clear what has happened. When people with yellow or black or brownish skin, with Communist or Islamic or Nationalist credentials, murder their prisoners or carpet bomb villages to kill their enemies or set up death squad courts, they must be condemned by the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and the "civilised" world. We are the masters of human rights, the Liberals, the great and good who can preach to the impoverished masses. But when our people are murdered – when our glittering buildings are destroyed – then we tear up every piece of human rights legislation, send off the B-52s in the direction of the impoverished masses and set out to murder our enemies.

Winston Churchill took the Bush view of his enemies. In 1945, he preferred the straightforward execution of the Nazi leadership. Yet despite the fact that Hitler's monsters were responsible for at least 50 million deaths – 10,000 times greater than the victims of 11 September – the Nazi murderers were given a trial at Nuremberg because US President Truman made a remarkable decision. "Undiscriminating executions or punishments," he said, "without definite findings of guilt fairly arrived at, would not fit easily on the American conscience or be remembered by our children with pride."

No one should be surprised that Mr Bush – a small-time Texas Governor-Executioner – should fail to understand the morality of a statesman in the Whitehouse. What is so shocking is that the Blairs, Schröders, Chiracs and all the television boys should have remained so gutlessly silent in the face of the Afghan executions and East European-style legislation sanctified since 11 September.

Click here for more commentary on the prisoner massacres



02 December 2001 The Independent

U.S. Bomb Error Kills 70
By Richard Lloyd Parry in Jalalabad and Justin Huggler in Mazar-i-Sharif

American air raids have killed at least 70 civilians, and possibly hundreds, in a single night in the biggest bombing mistake of the war, according to pro-Western commanders in eastern Afghanistan. The US military said the bombing "just did not happen".

The civilians apparently died as the result of mis-targeting by B-52 bombers aiming at al-Qa'ida bases in the White Mountains near Jalalabad, where Osama bin Laden is reported to be hiding. At least 50 people died late on Friday night in the villages of Baluth and Akal Khal in the Mairajuddin district, 30 miles from the regional capital, while another raid early yesterday morning destroyed the village of Kama Ado.

One commander claimed only 20 people were killed in Kama Ado, but Lal Gul, a local farmer, said few villagers were left alive from a population of more than 200. Major Brad Lowell, a Marine Corps spokesman, said although American bombs did hit a target in the area, it was not civilian. He said the witnesses' account "doesn't jibe with our imagery", adding: "It just did not happen."


December 4, 2001 Pittsburgh Post Gazette, page A6:

"In a signed declaration addressed to the world, the elders of the [Tora Bora] region said: "...Our demand to the United States government and its coalition: stop the bombing in the name of humanity."

A US missile killed eight guards sent by the Eastern Shura to watch over the local municipal office in Landa Khel. The villagers of Kama Ado, about 35 miles south of Jalalabad, said they had identified and buried 155 of their dead. Eastern Shura officials said at least 58 people had died in three other nearby villages. The officials and villagers said the death toll would climb and that the dead were Afghan civilians, not al Qaida fighters. The Pentagon has denied that any villages were struck."

The media continues to report that "it has been impossible to verify these accounts" of civilian deaths. However, the next day, on December 5th, also in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, FRONT PAGE (not page A6 where the civilian death reports were buried, the headline read:

"Afghans say 10 al-Qaida chiefs killed... At least ten senior lieutenants in Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida organization were killed by US airstrikes on Monday near the mountainous complex of caves and tunnels where officials believe bin laden is hiding..."

Funny how over 200 civilians can be killed and the deaths reported by both villagers and officials who had to bury them, and the Pentagon not have any evidence of these deaths at all, yet 10 al-Qaida members who died in the bombing can be easily identified by the Pentagon and these reports put on the front page. You have to turn to page A-15, though, to get the rest of the story on the 10 al-Qaida chiefs killed: "There were conflicting reports about the identity of [the al-Qaida chiefs] killed in the aerial attacks. One top military commander here said that bin Laden's closest advisor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was among those injured or dead. Other reports said that while al-Zawahiri was unharmed, his wife and three daughters were killed."


On December 3rd, it was reported that 25 Israelis were killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem. Bush called the bombings "horrific acts of murder." Yet, when innocent Afghan civilians are killed, injured, maimed, or their villages destroyed by the US bombs, the Bush administration denies the reports and brushes them aside as inconsequential.


December 4th, 2001, Robert Fisk:

"...– I visited a grotty, fly-blown hospital in Quetta, the Pakistani border city where Afghan victims of American bombing raids are brought for treatment. Surrounded by an army of flies in bed No 12, Mahmat – most Afghans have no family names – told me his story. There were no CNN cameras, no BBC reporters in this hospital to film the patient. Nor will there be. Mahmat had been asleep in his home in the village of Kazikarez six days ago when a bomb from an American B-52 fell on his village. He was asleep in one room, his wife with the children. His son Nourali died, as did Jaber – aged 10 – Janaan, eight, Salamo, six, Twayir, four, and Palwasha – the only girl – two.

"The plane flies so high that we cannot hear them and the mud roof fell on them," Mahmat said. His wife Rukia – whom he permitted me to see – lay in the next room (bed No 13). She did not know that her children were dead. She was 25 and looked 45. A cloth dignified her forehead. Her children – like so many Afghan innocents in this frightful War for civilisation – were victims whom Mr Bush and Mr Blair will never acknowledge. And watching Mahmat plead for money – the American bomb had blasted away his clothes and he was naked beneath the hospital blanket – I could see something terrible: he and the angry cousin beside him and the uncle and the wife's brother in the hospital attacking America for the murders that they had inflicted on their family...

One day, I suspect, Mahmat's relatives may be angry enough to take their revenge on the United States, in which case they will be terrorists, men of violence. We may even ask if their leaders could control them. They are not bin Ladens, Mahmat's family said that – "We are neither Taliban nor Arab" – but, frankly, could we blame them if they decided to strike at the United States for the bloody and terrible crime done to their family. Can the United States stop bombing villages? Can Washington persuade its special forces to protect prisoners? Can the Americans control their own people?"

Read the full Robert Fisk article


December 11, 2001 (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) "The bombs [in the Tora Bora region - see December 4th, where the Elders pleaded for the bombing to stop "in the name of humanity"] are knocking huge boulders off the side of the mountain, and several of them have rolled down on young children," said an Afghan villager who recently trvaeled to one of the mountain pockets where {al-Qaida] families were hiding. [The US military knows that the al-Qaida are with their families and are bombing them relentlessly anyway.]

(Pittsburgh Post Gazette): ..."several thousand displaced people in this refugee camp near Kunduz need winter clothing and medical attention to prevent many more deaths in the months ahead. More than 175 of these refugees, most of them children, have died of disease since the bombardment began, relief officials said. Their graves clutter the camp's edges. 'The situation is very bad,' said Abdul-Manan, senior field assistant for [the International Organization for Migration]. In another time, Bagh-e-Shirkat might have been beautiful. It was once a self-sufficient village on a plateau above the meandering waters of the Chanar Darya, with expansive vistas of rice patties and forested banks below. Now it is a place of misery and disease, a cold and mud-slicked maze of crimbled homes, where piles of human waste are everywhere. Many families live in holes dug in the ground and covered with logs, earth and plastic sheets. The temperature has hovered near freezing for a week, and light but steady rain has cloaked everything in an unrelenting chill. Relief officials and residents here said the combination of poor diet, foul weather and unsanitary conditions has accelerated the spread of sickness just as winter has arrived.

"...many [relief] agencies that normally operate in this region... were thoroughly looted in the last days of fighting in the nearby city of Kunduz. Relief officials said that marauding soldiers, some from Taliban units and others from the Northern Alliance, stole their trucks and stripped offices of everything from tools to medical equipment.... So far American help has not been visible, except for an aerial food drop near the airport last week. It rained meals on Northern Alliance soldiers, but not civilians, and had no effect on the camps of hungry people a few miles away."



Thursday December 20, 2001

Estimates suggest US bombs have killed at least 3,767 civilians

The innocent dead in a coward's war
Seumas Milne; The Guardian

The price in blood that has already been paid for America's war against terror is only now starting to become clear. Not by Britain or the US, nor even so far by the al-Qaida and Taliban leaders held responsible for the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. It has instead been paid by ordinary Afghans, who had nothing whatever to do with the atrocities, didn't elect the Taliban theocrats who ruled over them and had no say in the decision to give house room to Bin Laden and his friends.

The Pentagon has been characteristically coy about how many people it believes have died under the missiles it has showered on Afghanistan. Acutely sensitive to the impact on international support for the war, spokespeople have usually batted away reports of civilian casualties with a casual "these cannot be independently confirmed", or sometimes simply denied the deaths occurred at all. The US media have been particularly helpful. Seven weeks into the bombing campaign, the Los Angeles Times only felt able to hazard the guess that "at least dozens of civilians" had been killed.

Now, for the first time, a systematic independent study has been carried out into civilian casualties in Afghanistan by Marc Herold, a US economics professor at the University of New Hampshire. Based on corroborated reports from aid agencies, the UN, eyewitnesses, TV stations, newspapers and news agencies around the world, Herold estimates that at least 3,767 civilians were killed by US bombs between October 7 and December 10. That is an average of 62 innocent deaths a day - and an even higher figure than the 3,234 now thought to have been killed in New York and Washington on September 11....

Read the entire article...



Sunday, December 23, 2001 in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune


To Make Amends for Errant Bombs
by David Corn


....But the United States also ought to establish a fund that specifically makes payments to Afghan civilians whose families, bodies, homes or businesses have been shattered by errant U.S. bombs. If there are inevitable civilian losses due to the U.S. military action, shouldn't America bear those costs as the price of protecting itself from terrorism?

The Afghan civilians struck by U.S. bombs are innocent victims not unlike those Americans killed or injured on Sept. 11. Consider the case of Noor Muhammad, a 12-year-old boy who lived in a village near Tora Bora. He recalls hearing an airplane and running from his room; he does not know what happened next. But when he awoke in a Jalalabad hospital he had lost his right arm, his left hand and his sight. In another instance, according to villagers outside Kandahar, U.S. warplanes pursuing Arab fighters sprayed a wide area with shrapnel, killing and injuring dozens of civilians, including several small children. One, a 6-year-old girl, was paralyzed below the waist. Americans have generously created funds for the American survivors of the Sept. 11 attacks. Noor and others like him deserve similar generosity....

Read the entire article


24 December 2001


Americans 'duped' into attack on convoy
By Kim Sengupta in Kabul

A tale of tribal treachery, Arab mercenaries and how the Americans may have been used to settle an Afghan blood feud emerged yesterday behind the bombing of a convoy that left up to 60 people dead and 40 injured...

Read the entire article


December 27th, 2001: National Public Radio:

Dozens of Afghan civilians were killed in airstrikes today when a village was intentionally bombed by the US. The villagers said there were no Al Qaida there and couldn't understand why they were targeted. Rumsfield said they suspected that Al Qaida were there. He said Osama bin Laden is responsible for the civilian deaths.


What If We Could See the Afghan Dead as We've Seen the September 11 Victims?

by Howard Zinn (here excerpted - to read the entire article, click here)
From a hospital in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, reported in the Boston Globe by John Donnelly on December 5, 2001:

"In one bed lay Noor Mohammad, 10, who was a bundle of bandages. He lost his eyes and hands to the bomb that hit his house after Sunday dinner. Hospital director Guloja Shimwari shook his head at the boy's wounds. 'The United States must be thinking he is Osama,' Shimwari said. 'If he is not Osama, then why would they do this?'"

The report continued:

"The hospital's morgue received 17 bodies last weekend, and officials here estimate at least 89 civilians were killed in several villages. In the hospital yesterday, a bomb's damage could be chronicled in the life of one family. A bomb had killed the father, Faisal Karim. In one bed was his wife, Mustafa Jama, who had severe head injuries.... Around her, six of her children were in bandages.... One of them, Zahidullah, 8, lay in a coma."

In the New York Times , Barry Bearak, reporting December 15 from the village of Madoo, Afghanistan, tells of the destruction of fifteen houses and their occupants. "'In the night, as we slept, they dropped the bombs on us,' said Paira Gul, a young man whose eyes were aflame with bitterness. His sisters and their families had perished, he said.... The houses were small, the bombing precise. No structure escaped the thundering havoc. Fifteen houses, 15 ruins.... 'Most of the dead are children,' Tor Tul said."

Another Times reporter, C.J. Chivers, writing from the village of Charykari on December 12, reported "a terrifying and rolling barrage that the villagers believe was the payload of an American B-52.... The villagers say 30 people died.... One man, Muhibullah, 40, led the way through his yard and showed three unexploded cluster bombs he is afraid to touch. A fourth was not a dud. It landed near his porch. 'My son was sitting there...the metal went inside him.' The boy, Zumarai, 5, is in a hospital in Kunduz, with wounds to leg and abdomen. His sister, Sharpari, 10, was killed. 'The United States killed my daughter and injured my son,' Mr. Muhibullah said. 'Six of my cows were destroyed and all of my wheat and rice was burned. I am very angry. I miss my daughter.'"

From the Washington Post , October 24, from Peshawar, Pakistan, by Pamela Constable: "Sardar, a taxi driver and father of 12, said his family had spent night after night listening to the bombing in their community south of Kabul. One night during the first week, he said, a bomb aimed at a nearby radio station struck a house, killing all five members of the family living there. 'There was no sign of a home left,' he said. 'We just collected the pieces of bodies and buried them.'"

Reporter Catherine Philp of the Times of London, reporting October 25 from Quetta, Pakistan: "It was not long after 7 pm on Sunday when the bombs began to fall over the outskirts of Torai village.... Rushing outside, Mauroof saw a massive fireball. Morning brought an end to the bombing and...a neighbor arrived to tell him that some 20 villagers had been killed in the blasts, among them ten of his relatives. 'I saw the body of one of my brothers-in-law being pulled from the debris,' Mauroof said. 'The lower part of his body had been blown away. Some of the other bodies were unrecognizable. There were heads missing and arms blown off....' The roll call of the dead read like an invitation list to a family wedding: his mother-in-law, two sisters-in-law, three brothers-in-law, and four of his sister's five young children, two girls and two boys, all under the age of eight."

Human Rights Watch report, October 26: "Twenty-five-year-old Samiullah...rushed home to rescue his family.... he found the bodies of his twenty-year-old wife and three of his children: Mohibullah, aged six; Harifullah, aged three; and Bibi Aysha, aged one.... Also killed were his two brothers, Nasiullah, aged eight, and Ghaziullah, aged six, as well as two of his sisters, aged fourteen and eleven."

From Reuters, October 28, Sayed Salahuddin reporting from Kabul: "A U.S. bomb flattened a flimsy mud-brick home in Kabul Sunday, blowing apart seven children as they ate breakfast with their father.... Sobs racked the body of a middle-aged man as he cradled the head of his baby, its dust-covered body dressed only in a blue diaper, lying beside the bodies of three other children, their colorful clothes layered with debris from their shattered homes."

Washington Post Foreign Service, November 2, from Quetta, Pakistan, by Rajiv Chandrasekaran: "The thunder of the first explosions jolted Nasir Ahmed awake.... he grabbed his 14-year-old niece and scurried into a communal courtyard. From there, he said, they watched as civilians who survived the bombing run, including his niece and a woman holding her 5-year-old son, were gunned down by a slow-moving, propeller-driven aircraft circling overheard. When the gunship departed an hour later, at least 25 people in the village--all civilians--were dead, according to accounts of the incident provided today by Ahmed, two other witnesses, and several relatives of people in the village.

"The Pentagon confirmed that the village was hit...but officials said they believe the aircraft struck a legitimate military target.... Asked about civilian casualties, the official said, 'We don't know. We're not on the ground.'

"Shaida, 14.... 'Americans are not good.... They killed my mother. They killed my father. I don't understand why.'"

A Newsday report on November 24 from Kabul, by James Rupert: "In the sprawling, mud-brick slum of Qala-ye-Khatir, most men were kneeling in the mosques at morning prayer on November 6 when a quarter-ton of steel and high explosives hurtled from the sky into the home of Gul Ahmed, a carpet weaver. The American bomb detonated, killing Ahmed, his five daughters, one of his wives, and a son. Next door, it demolished the home of Sahib Dad and killed two of his children....

"Ross Chamberlain, the coordinator for U.N. mine-clearing operations in much of Afghanistan.... 'There's really no such thing as a precision bombing.... We are finding more cases of errant targeting than accurate targeting, more misses than hits.'"

The New York Times , November 22, from Ghaleh Shafer, Afghanistan: "10-year-old Mohebolah Seraj went out to collect wood for his family, and thought he had happened upon a food packet. He picked it up and lost three fingers in an explosion. Doctors say he will probably lose his whole hand.... his mother, Sardar Seraj...said that she cried and told the doctors not to cut off her son's whole hand...

"The hospital where her son is being cared for is a grim place, lacking power and basic sanitation. In one room lay Muhammad Ayoub, a 20-year-old who was in the house when the cluster bomb initially landed. He lost a leg and his eyesight, and his face was severely disfigured. He moaned in agony.... Hospital officials said that a 16-year-old had been decapitated."

A New York Times report on December 3 from Jalalabad, Afghanistan, by Tim Weiner: "The commanders, who are pro-American...say that four nearby villages were struck this weekend, leaving 80 or more people dead and others wounded.... The villages are near Tora Bora, the mountain camp where Mr. bin Laden is presumed to be hiding. A Pentagon spokesman said Saturday that the bombing of civilians near Tora Bora 'never happened.'

"Eight men guarding the building [a district office building]...were killed, [mujahedeen commander] Hajji Zaman said. He gave the names of the dead as Zia ul-Hassan, 16; Wilayat Khan, 17; Abdul Wadi, 20; Jany, 22; Abdul Wahid, 30; Hajji Wazir, 35; Hajji Nasser, also 35; and Awlia Gul, 37.... Ali Shah, 26, of Landa Khel, said, 'There is no one in this village who is part of Al Qaeda.'

"Witnesses said that at least 50 and as many as 200 villagers had been killed.

"'We are poor people,' [Muhammad] Tahir said. 'Our trees are our only shelter from the cold and wind. The trees have been bombed. Our waterfall, our only source of water--they bombed it. Where is the humanity?'"

The Independent , December 4: "The village where nothing happened.... The cemetery on the hill contains 40 freshly dug graves, unmarked and identical. And the village of Kama Ado has ceased to exist.... And all this is very strange because, on Saturday morning--when American B-52s unloaded dozens of bombs that killed 115 men, women and children--nothing happened.... We know this because the U.S. Department of Defence told us so.... 'It just didn't happen.'"

The New York Times , December 12, David Rohde, writing from Ghazni, Afghanistan: "Each ward of the Ghazni Hospital features a new calamity. In the first, two 14-year-old boys had lost parts of their hands when they picked up land mines. 'I was playing with a toy and it exploded' said one of them, Muhammad Allah.... a woman named Rose lay on a bed in the corner of the room, grunting with each breath. Her waiflike children slept nearby, whimpering periodically. Early on Sunday morning, shrapnel from an American bomb tore through the woman's abdomen, broke her 4-year-old son's leg and ripped into her 6-year-old daughter's head, doctors here said. A second 6-year-old girl in the room was paralyzed from the waist down. X-rays showed how a tiny shard of metal had neatly severed her spinal cord."

Reported in the Chicago Tribune , December 28, by Paul Salopek, from Madoo, Afghanistan: "'American soldiers came after the bombing and asked if any Al Qaeda had lived here,' said villager Paira Gul. 'Is that an Al Qaeda?' Gul asked, pointing to a child's severed foot he had excavated minutes earlier from a smashed house. 'Tell me' he said, his voice choking with fury, 'is that what an Al Qaeda looks like?'"

Reuters, December 31, from Qalaye Niazi, Afghanistan: "Janat Gul said 24 members of his family were killed in the pre-dawn U.S. bombing raid on Qalaye Niazi, and described himself as the sole survivor.... In the U.S. Major Pete Mitchell--a spokesman for U.S. Central Command--said: 'We are aware of the incident and we are currently investigating.'"

Yes, these reports appeared, but scattered through the months of bombing and on the inside pages, or buried in larger stories and accompanied by solemn government denials. With no access to alternative information, it is not surprising that a majority of Americans have approved of what they have been led to think is a "war on terrorism."

Recall that Americans at first supported the war in Vietnam. But once the statistics of the dead became visible human beings--once they saw not only the body bags of young GIs piling up by the tens of thousands but also the images of the napalmed children, the burning huts, the massacred families at My Lai--shock and indignation fueled a national movement to end the war.

I do believe that if people could see the consequences of the bombing campaign as vividly as we were all confronted with the horrifying photos in the wake of September 11, if they saw on television night after night the blinded and maimed children, the weeping parents of Afghanistan, they might ask: Is this the way to combat terrorism?


January 21, 2002 (National Public Radio)

Villages were again intentionally bombed in a six day bombing campaign during the week of January 14th, 2002.

April 2002: Four Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan by American bombs.


July 2002: 48 killed when American bomb hits wedding party.


July 9, 2002

"Why are they shooting our women and children?"

A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL

"Why are they shooting our women and children?" asked Abdul Kaliq, a 25-year-old farmer from Kakarak, in Afghanistan.

"The Americans should make peace in Afghanistan and rebuild Afghanistan," he said, wincing as he moved in the hospital bed. Shrapnel lacerated his back and both arms during the raid.

Abdul Kaliq was one of more than 120 survivors as U.S. planes mistakenly attacked an Afghan wedding party on July 1st. More than 40 civilians were killed. Most of them were women and children.

BuzzFlash may have the answer to Abdul Kaliq's question, "Why are they shooting our women and children?"

Here is an interview with an Ithaca, New York, U.S. Army soldier that we linked to in May that may explain it all:

"In an April interview with The Ithaca Journal at his family's Cayuga Heights home, Guckenheimer, 22, shared his experiences during Operation Anaconda. He was sent on March 6 in a company of more than 100 soldiers to participate in the largest U.S.-led ground engagement in Eastern Afghanistan.

"We were told there were no friendly forces," said Guckenheimer, an assistant gunner with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum. "If there was anybody there, they were the enemy. We were told specifically that if there were women and children to kill them."

The interview was conducted by "The Ithaca Journal." (On June 4th, "The Ithaca Journal" ran a "clarification" from Guckenheimer at http://www.theithacajournal.com/news/stories/20020604/opinion/440857.html We are also posting it below this BuzzFlash Editorial.)

"The celebrations were in full swing," writes The Times of London,"with hundreds of guests preparing for a wedding singing and dancing in the beam of a tractor's headlights. Out of the darkness a warplane descended, sending rockets exploding through the crowd.

Survivors of the party in Kakarak, southern Afghanistan, yesterday described the events after they came under fire in the early hours of Monday from American gunships. They told of a sustained attack from the air, with wedding guests being chased and shot dead as they tried to escape."

It wasn't the first time a wedding was bombed by U.S. military planes either. One article documents at least three wedding bombings by American forces (http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/00000006D95F.htm).

"With the festivities, some people said they didn't even hear the AC-130 gunship as it approached the compound. Sadiqa, 15, was in the women's section listening to music when the firing started.

The first fire hit among the women, she said. Terrified, she and others ran out of the courtyard and into surrounding fields. Sadiqa said she searched for a dry stream bed where she could hide. She was shot as she ran, the shrapnel shearing into both legs.

Days later, she still wore the salmon-colored dress she had put on for the party. Her injuries will heal, doctors say; far harder is the loss of her entire family, 15 people who died in the raid.

On a neighboring bed, Sabor Gul, 11, stared out in distress. She looked terrified as two reporters asked what had happened. A nurse explained that the girl was scared because the visitors were Americans.

"The American people bombed us," Sabor said softly. "The airplane was very big. When the bombing started, every woman was scared; other women were killed in the river."

"Around her in the orchard, there was unspeakable gore. A woman's torso had landed in one of the small almond trees. Human flesh was still hanging on the tree five days after the attack, and more putrefying remains were tangled in the branches of a pomegranate tree, its bright scarlet flowers still blooming.

"They were collecting body parts in a bucket," said the governor of Oruzgan Province, Jan Muhammad, who arrived the day after the attack." (see http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/08/international/asia/08VILL.html)


Afghans Report 17 Civilians Killed in Allied Air Raids
By CARLOTTA GALL

KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb.12, 2003— Afghan officials said today that 17 civilians, including women and children, had been killed in an American-led bombing of a mountainous region of southern Afghanistan, where United States Special Forces have been fighting rebels since Monday.

The fighting began when the Special Forces were attacked in an ambush and called in coalition planes to bomb the area.

Col. Roger King, the United States military spokesman, said that the Special Forces battled about 25 rebels who had been spotted taking up offensive positions around midday Tuesday, and that the Americans had captured 12 men near the village of Lejay.

He reported no American or coalition casualties and said he had no information about civilian casualties. But the civilian toll appears to have been heavy.

An aide to the governor of Helmand Province, where the fighting was going on, said villagers had reported to the authorities that 17 civilians, including women and children, had been killed.

"The people came crying, saying their relatives had died or were missing," the aide, Haji Muhammad Wali, said by telephone from Helmand's capital, Lashkar Gah, Reuters reported.

The fighting has been concentrated in Baghran, a mountainous region in the north of the province. Baghran has been a source of concern for the United States military tracking movements of suspected rebels.


American Bomb Kills 11 Afghan Civilians
Wed., April 9, 2003 08:30 AM ET
By Parwez Besmel

BAGRAM, Afghanistan (Reuters) - The U.S. military said 11 Afghan civilians, seven of them women, were killed early on Wednesday when an American bomb missed its target and landed on a house in eastern Afghanistan.

"Eleven Afghan civilians were killed and one was wounded early this morning when a bomb dropped by coalition aircraft landed in a house on the outskirts of Shkin near the Pakistan border," said Douglas Lefforge, a spokesman at the U.S. military's headquarters at Bagram air base north of Kabul.



Marie Cocco
U.S. Owes Postwar Aid to Mothers, Children

May 6, 2003

Americans should not believe our "good wars" in Afghanistan and Iraq are kinder and gentler than most.

Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld suggested during a visit to Kabul last week, is such a paragon of progress that it might become a model for reconstruction in Iraq. Save the Children offers another perspective. It ranks Afghanistan among the five worst conflict zones in which to be a woman or child. The others are Angola, Burundi, the Congo and Sierra Leone.

"More than a year after the fall of the Taliban, there is still overwhelming poverty, lack of basic services as well as insecurity, lawlessness and continued violence throughout much of the country," the report says.

On a scale measuring the well-being of children, Afghanistan came in dead last, behind 162 other countries. Eighty-seven percent of the Afghan population remains without safe water, a quarter of children are malnourished, and 71 percent still aren't enrolled in school. This is despite the American president's proclamation in March 2002 that schools were re-opening with spanking new textbooks sent by a generous United States.

As for their mothers - the Afghan women used so widely as public-relations props for American politicians at the war's outset - Save the Children found that almost all of them deliver babies without assistance from trained health personnel. One in seven Afghan women dies during childbirth.

This is not what we promised.

President George W. Bush, in launching the war to wipe out al-Qaida terrorist bases, used the oppression of Afghan women as a casus belli. The women sipped tea at the White House and sat in a place of honor for the State of the Union address. First lady Laura Bush delivered her own speeches espousing their cause. The president said he would learn from the past and not abandon Afghans to warlords and druglords once military goals were met.

"We will not leave until the mission is complete," Bush declared.

This mission is not accomplished. Mostly, aid groups and U.S. diplomatic officials say, it's because much of Afghanistan outside the capital has been abandoned to warlords and druglords.

"The United States has not been prepared to underwrite or ensure security outside Kabul," Save the Children President Charles F. MacCormack said in an interview. "It has been quite insecure in other parts of Afghanistan all along and it's going from bad to worse."

Meanwhile in Iraq, lack of safe water is fostering disease among children, and nearly a month of U.S. occupation has failed to get hospitals functioning properly. MacCormack said security in Iraq improves daily, but banditry remains a threat.

"Trucks are still robbed, people are still shot," he said. "What sense is it for us to re-stock a clinic if somebody's going to come at night and take the stuff?"


December 7, 2003

United States Warplanes Kill Nine Children and One Man

KABUL, Afghanistan, Sunday, Dec. 7 — United States warplanes attacking a suspected member of the Taliban killed nine children in the southeastern province of Ghazni on Saturday, Afghan and American military officials confirmed Sunday morning. One man was also killed in the attack, they said. The aircraft involved was an A-10 attack jet, a type that flies low and fires guns and rockets in support of infantry.

A spokesman for President Hamid Karzai in Kabul said that when first reports arrived from the region, the American military had denied that the attack occurred. Mr. Karzai has frequently asked the United States military to take greater care with bombing raids on civilian areas and with they intelligence it receives, which has often proved erroneous. There have been hundreds of civilian casualties from bombing raids during the past two years. At least 48 people were killed in July 2002 when American planes fired on a village where a wedding party was in progress.

In another incident, eleven people from one family were killed when a bomb landed on their house near the Pakistani border in Paktika Province. The United States military quickly acknowledged the mistake, saying the attack was aimed at a group of militants whe were trying to escape across the border.

On Oct. 30. American planes bombed a village in the northern province of Nuristan, killing six members of one family, most of them women and children, and two religious students in the village mosque. The military has not yet confirmed that its planes were in the area that night.

In their statement, the United States military said it the targeted man had been involved in the killings of two contractors working on Afghanistan's main highway connecting the capital with the cities of Kandahar and Herat. There have been no reported killings of contractors. Several Afghan security policemen were killed in an attack on the road in September.

American and allied forces in Afghanistan "follow stringent rules of engagement to specifically avoid this type of incident while continuing to target terrorists," the statement said.

The aircraft opened fire on the suspect in what whas described as "an isolated rural site" south of the town of Ghazni, the statement said.

The attack came about 10:30 on Saturday morning. Ghazni is about 80 miles southeast of Kabul on the road to Kandahar, the former stronghold of the Taliban movement that governed Afghanistan before the United States and Afghan opposition forces overthrew it two years ago.

From the BBC, December 7, 2003:

Local villagers in Afghanistan have contradicted US reports that the target of an air strike that killed nine children also died in the raid.

The attack was carried out on Saturday in the village of Hutala, in a remote area of southern Ghazni province.

US officials said they were acting on extensive intelligence and had killed a former Taleban militant, Mullah Wazir.

But local Afghans told the BBC's Crispin Thurold the intended target had left the village 10 days earlier.

The United Nations has condemned the incident as "profoundly distressing " and called for a swift inquiry.

Patches of dried blood and a pitiful pile of children's hats and shoes are the only evidence that remains of a bombing raid that went dreadfully wrong, our correspondent says.

Seven boys, two girls and a 25-year-old man were killed when two A-10 American planes fired rockets and bullets into a group of villagers sitting under the shade of a tree at about 1030 local time (0600 GMT) on Saturday.

Only one house was hit in the attack - but accounts differ on whether it belonged to the militant targeted.

US ground forces found the bodies of the children near that of the intended target after the strike, US military spokesman Major Christopher West said.


Six Afghan Children Killed in U.S. Attack

By STEPHEN GRAHAM, Associated Press Writer , December 10, 2003

KABUL, Afghanistan - Six children were crushed to death by a collapsing wall during an assault by U.S. forces on a weapons compound in eastern Afghanistan, an American military spokesman said Wednesday — the second time in a week that children have been killed in U.S. action against Taliban and al-Qaida suspects.

Both incidents occurred in Pashtun-dominated areas, risking further alienation among the country's largest ethnic group from which the Islamic militant Taliban emerged. The areas already have been a focus of insurgent attacks on coalition and government targets, and international aid workers.

Two adults were killed along with the six children during an attack Friday night against a complex in Paktia province where a renegade Afghan commander, Mullah Jalani, kept a huge cache of weapons, said Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty.

"The next day we discovered the bodies of two adults and six children," he said. "We had no indication there were noncombatants" in the compound.

Jalani is believed to be an associate of renegade warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former prime minister who has joined the resurgent Taliban. The military believes Jalani was involved in recent attacks against coalition forces, but has not provided any details.

Jalani was not at the site, but nine other people were arrested, Hilferty said. He did not identify the adults that were killed or say whether they were combatants or civilians.

Hilferty said U.S. warplanes and troops attacked the compound, setting off secondary explosions. He expressed regret over the death of civilians in Afghanistan, but said it was impossible to completely avoid such incidents.

"We try very hard not to kill anyone. We would prefer to capture the terrorists rather than kill them," Hilferty said.

"But in this incident, if noncombatants surround themselves with thousands of weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition and howitzers and mortars in a compound known to be used by a terrorist, we are not completely responsible for the consequences."


Afghans Condemn U.S. Airstrike Deaths

By AMIR SHAH, Associated Press, 7/5/2005

KABUL, Afghanistan -
Afghanistan on Tuesday condemned the killing of up to 17 civilians in a U.S. airstrike, and a senior American defense official confirmed the deaths of two Navy SEALs who were missing in action in the country's northeast.

"The president is extremely saddened and disturbed," said Jawed Ludin, President Hamid Karzai's chief of staff. "There is no way ... the killing of civilians can be justified. ... It's the terrorists we are fighting. It's not our people who should suffer."

An initial strike destroyed a house, and as villagers gathered to look at the damage, a U.S. warplane dropped a second bomb on the same target, killing 17 of them, including three women and children.

U.S. forces "regret the loss of innocent lives and follow stringent rules of engagement specifically to ensure that noncombatants are safeguarded. However, when enemy forces move their families into the locations where they conduct terrorist operations, they put these innocent civilians at risk."

The civilians are the latest victims in an unprecedented spate of violence that has left about 700 people dead and threatened to sabotage three years of progress toward peace. Afghan officials insist the violence will not disrupt landmark legislative elections slated for September.


To be continued (regrettably)...

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