Do Afghan lives matter to the West?

Investigation shows 37 Afghan civilians killed in US airstrike

Why is it that people are hardly outraged when women and children are being killed by US bombing raids? These incidents are becoming so frequent that they hardly appear in the prominent pages of newspapers anymore. The callous action by Western forces are just murderous act. Yet when a few person died in China due to contaminated milk, news article appear for days telling us how terrible the situation is in China.

Afghanistan is a big mess. The Western forces can do anything it want without much regard to safety of innocent people. The puppet Kazai regime  has no power to dictate what the Western forces can do. It’s an occupied country. I really pity those innocent children and women and their relatives who are paying the price of being ‘brought back into civilization’. There is real hypocricy in these countries that preached so-called human rights to the whole world.

KABUL – An Afghan government probe team confirmed Friday that a US airstrike on a wedding gathering has killed 37 civilians and injured 31 others recently in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar province.

Twenty six Taliban militants also perished in the air bombing which happened Monday afternoon after the US-led troops were attacked by militants at Wech Baghtu village in Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar.

The powerful bombing meant to retaliate on the insurgents however also hit a wedding party being held not far from the targeted militant firing position, according to locals.

Haji Roozi Khan, a local villager and eyewitness, earlier told Xinhua that 37 civilians, including 10 women, 23 children, died and over 30 others, including the bride, sustained injuries in the airstrike which lasted from around 2:00 pm until late that night.

A statement from Afghan presidential office Wednesday said around 40 civilians were killed and 28 others wounded in the airstrike, which was condemned by President Hamid Karzai. In the past, Karzai "for several times" has asked the US-led foreign troops to avoid harming civilians.

The US forces in Afghanistan has promised an investigation into the incident, in a Wednesday statement.

"Though facts are unclear at this point, we take very seriously our responsibility to protect the people of Afghanistan and to avoid circumstances where noncombatant civilians are placed at risk," said the statement.

The US military here, while reached by Xinhua Friday over phone, said that their unit has concluded the investigation but the report is not immediately available, with a media officer saying "We regret the civilian casualties as indicated in the Afghan government investigation."

Over 1,500 civilians have been killed in Afghan violence this year, either by the militants or the Afghan and international troops, according to UN officials.

The Afghanistan-based US and NATO troops, who are 70,000- strong and fighting an escalating Taliban-led insurgency, mostly relying on air raids to kill insurgents, continue to mis-strike civilian targets, due to misleading information or aimless firing among others, despite repeated appeals from Afghan authorities for ending civilian casualties.

The worst one in years was on August 22 when a US airstrike in western Herat province, according to UN and Afghan government probes, claimed over 90 civilian lives. The incident prompted Afghan cabinet to pass a historic resolution, asking for a re- regulation of foreign troops’ presence in the post-Taliban nation. The United States however later in a probe confirmed only 33 civilians died in the raid.

Continuous civilian killings by the foreign troops, which are considered sensitive, have spurred common Afghans’ anger, if not hatred, towards US-led foreign troops and undermined the popularity of Afghan government. It is also believed that such cases have strained relations between Karzai administration and its western backers.

Congratulating on Barack Obama’s victory in US presidential elections, Karzai Wednesday called on the US new leadership to prevent from harming civilians in their Afghan military operations.

"Our first demand is to avoid harming civilians in Afghanistan, " Karzai said.

In a related development, the US-led Coalition and the NATO troops Wednesday in an air attack on militants who were attacking Afghan government ground troops, killed seven civilians, along with 13 insurgents in northwestern Badghis province, the province’ s deputy police chief Abdul Ghani Sabiri told Xinhua.


About kchew

an occasional culturalist
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