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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Maybe to you its just a number... but not me.

Posted by on May. 13, 2009 at 10:29 AM
  • 13 Replies

A misdirected US air strike has killed as many as 120 Afghans, including dozens of women and children. The attack is the deadliest such bombing involving civilian casualties so far in the eight years since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Families in two villages in Farah province in western Afghanistan were digging for bodies in the ruins of their mudbrick houses yesterday. "There were women and children who were killed," said Jessica Barry, a Red Cross spokeswoman. "It seemed they were trying to shelter in houses when they were hit." Survivors said the number of dead would almost certainly to rise as the search for bodies continued.

The killing of so many Afghan civilians by US aircraft is likely to infuriate Afghans and lead to an increase in support for the Taliban in the bombed area. President Hamid Karzai, who was meeting President Barack Obama in Washington yesterday, sent a joint US-Afghan delegation to investigate the incident. The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, standing next to Mr Karzai, voiced her "deep regret".

The Afghan government has made increasingly angry denunciations of the US Air Force for using its massive firepower without regard for ordinary Afghans. Wedding parties have been a frequent target of US bombers in both Iraq and Afghanistan, presumably because they are mistaken for gatherings of militants.

The US air strike on Bala Baluk appears to have been deadlier for civilians than any similar event since the first US intervention in Afghanistan in 2001. The government has asked villagers not to bury the dead until investigators arrive today.

Previously the worst such incident was a US strike on Azizabad in August 2008 when the US originally claimed that no civilians were killed. Afghan and UN investigators concluded that 90 Afghans had been killed. A high-level American inquiry later admitted that 33 civilians had been killed. Opinion polls in Afghanistan show that backing for the Taliban soars in provinces affected after bombing or shelling kills innocent people.

The air strikes were preceded by two days of fighting between Afghan government forces supported by the US and dozens of Taliban fighters. Farah is a poor province whose people are mostly farmers and where the Taliban has been very active. The provincial police chief, Abdul Gaffar, said three police officers and 25 Taliban were killed in fighting near the village of Ganjabad in Bala Baluk district.

Local residents later told Afghan officials that they put their children, women and elderly men in walled compounds in the village of Gerani, which is three miles from the scene of the fighting and where they thought they would be safe. It was these compounds which were then attacked from the air and most of the people sheltering inside were killed.

Despite US denials or claims that a high death toll among civilians is Taliban propaganda, the US military should have very immediate access to eyewitnesses to air strikes. This is because the most severely injured are often taken to American medical facilities at US military bases. It is not known if this happened at Bala Baluk.

After the Azizabad killings last year, the US and Nato forces in Afghanistan were meant to have introduced more stringent rules to safeguard civilians from their strikes. The top US commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, issued a directive ordering commanders to consider not pursuing Taliban fighters into populated areas. The US also pledged to investigate bombing incidents alongside Afghan investigators.

Afghan air strikes: The toll mounts

552 Civilians killed in air strikes in 2008.

17 per cent Proportion of US drone attacks to hit targets since January 2006.

701 Killed in drone attacks in three years.

14 Al-Qa'ida leaders in that number.

4.5 million dollars The estimated cost of a single Predator drone.


 

by on May. 13, 2009 at 10:29 AM
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Replies (1-10):
TikkiNippets
by Member on May. 13, 2009 at 10:36 AM

sometimes in war accidents happen its a sad part of war alot of times. while I am sad that these people died I know in my heart we did not intend to kill these civilians..

      
 LDS, Married a Marine, 2yr old daughter with another on the way!

WAHM_Teresa
by Member on May. 13, 2009 at 10:47 AM

Any loss of life during a war is sad.  It's a no win situation.  We stay, people are going to die.  We leave and they fight each other and people will die. 

JamieLeigh02
by on May. 13, 2009 at 10:54 AM

 I think it's sad and disheartening how many innocent people are getting killed on both sides. I know this happens during war, but it's still sad

sweetie00
by on May. 13, 2009 at 12:21 PM

I don't think we need to be chasing Al-Qaeda all over the world. It is a waste of time and money and we are paying for it. We should stop fighting this militarily , go in to  htese countries, build schools, help them organize their govt.s-if they want help- and educate, educate, educate. That is the only way to stop young boys from joining these sects.

What we are doing militarily is putting a band aid on a gun shot wound. We need to cut the head off the snake, and that starts with the children and the ppl of these extremists.

I don't beleive with all this aid we are giving to foreign countries, why aren't we aiding Afghanistan, the poor MEastern countires and SE Asia, where the poverty, the corruption, and lack of education makes for a  hotbed for extremist recruiting.

I know we can't change the world with schools....or can we? It is no more proposterous than thinking we can change the world with bombs.

Raintree
by Ruby Member on May. 13, 2009 at 12:24 PM


Quoting sweetie00:

I know we can't change the world with schools....or can we? It is no more proposterous than thinking we can change the world with bombs.

Yes.

Stand up, this is comedy. The DNA lotto may have left you smart, but can you stand up to beauty- dictator of the heart. I can stand up for hope, faith, love but while I'm getting over certainty. Stop walking God across the road like a little old lady. - Bono

Merry74
by on May. 13, 2009 at 2:12 PM


Quoting sweetie00:

I know we can't change the world with schools....or can we? It is no more proposterous than thinking we can change the world with bombs.

Actually, it is (more preposterous)... but thanks for the laugh.

Raintree
by Ruby Member on May. 13, 2009 at 2:18 PM

Do you have a reason why you find this preposterous, or are you just a bomb lover?

Quoting Merry74:


Quoting sweetie00:

I know we can't change the world with schools....or can we? It is no more proposterous than thinking we can change the world with bombs.

Actually, it is (more preposterous)... but thanks for the laugh.


Stand up, this is comedy. The DNA lotto may have left you smart, but can you stand up to beauty- dictator of the heart. I can stand up for hope, faith, love but while I'm getting over certainty. Stop walking God across the road like a little old lady. - Bono

sweetie00
by on May. 13, 2009 at 3:51 PM


Quoting Merry74:

 

Quoting sweetie00:

I know we can't change the world with schools....or can we? It is no more proposterous than thinking we can change the world with bombs.

Actually, it is (more preposterous)... but thanks for the laugh.

you are freakin weird.

Gypsyuma
by Gold Member on May. 14, 2009 at 11:22 AM

For all those who think we should just bomb the shit out of them....answer this:

There is a ton of gang violence in some urban areas - let's say Compton in L.A.  The gang members terrorize the community with their violence and in-fighting with no regard for the rule of law or their community or government.  And yes, they are co-mingled in with the innocent citizens who only want to live their lives in peace.

So why don't we just bomb the shit out of those neighborhoods known for their hot-bed of gang activity?

 


 

Scorpio359
by on May. 15, 2009 at 1:00 AM

It is called casualties of war and it happens on both sides. It is too bad that you have to run our military down and cause more trouble for our soldiers who are fighting to save us from terrorists attacks. You only embolden the enemy and make us look like we are the bad guys. Of course that is your intent since you hate Americans because we are pro-Israel. Your hatred is wearing thin.

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