PressTV & CNN News Wire & Morning Star – 2010-09-01 23:53:49
US Contractors Kill Afghan Children;
US Planes Kill Afghan Kids:
Coalition Forces Kill US Contractors;
Coalition Forces Kill Civilians;
US Fires on 2000 Afghan Protesters
Afghans Protest Killing of Civilians
GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan (August 28, 2010) — Hundreds of Afghan people have taken to the streets in the eastern province of Ghazni to protest against the presence of private security firms the country, after two civilians were killed by foreign contractors.
Over 500 protesters condemned the killing of two Afghan civilians by mercenaries in the region, a Press TV correspondent reported on Saturday. The demonstrators also chanted anti-US slogans and blocked the area’s main roads for several hours.
The security firm responsible for the civilian killing claims the two victims were Taliban militants. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called for the expulsion of all private security firms operating in the country.
Some 26,000 armed security contractors work with the US government in Afghanistan. But with many unregistered companies working alongside them, the number could stand as high as 40,000.
Kabul has confirmed the presence of 52 foreign private security companies, including notorious American security firm Xe Services LLC — formerly known as Blackwater.
Most of the security contractors are believed to have close ties with Afghan warlords and are also accused of contributing to the rising number of civilian casualties in the country.
In a recent meeting with US Congressmen, Karzai said that the United States was not making progress in the war because of the growing civilian casualties. The issue of civilian casualties has long been a source of friction between Kabul and Washington.
‘US-led Troops Killed Afghan Children’
(August 27, 2010) — Police in Afghanistan have confirmed that the US-led warplanes are to blame for the killing of six Afghan children in the country’s volatile east. Police said on Friday that the children were collecting scrap metal in the mountain of eastern Kunar Province when a US-led plane dropped bombs on the area on Thursday.
“In the bombardment six children, aged six to 12, were killed. Another child was injured,” AFP quoted a regional police commander as saying. NATO confirmed in a statement that the US-led military alliance has carried out an airstrike in the mentioned area.
The US-led attacks have left several Afghan civilians dead across the country over the past few days. In a recent meeting with US Congressmen, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that the United States was not making progress in the war because of the growing civilian casualties.
The issue of civilian casualties has long been a source of friction between Kabul and Washington. The UN has put the number of civilian casualties at nearly 1,300 so far this year. It blames a quarter of the deaths on foreign troops.
Elsewhere in the country, three more US soldiers have been killed in separate bombings across Afghanistan. NATO says two of the soldiers died in a roadside bomb attack in eastern Afghanistan. The third soldier was killed in a similar blast in southern Afghanistan.
The exact locations of the attacks were not disclosed. The latest deaths brought the number of foreign troop killed in the country this year to 465.
2 Contractors Killed in Afghanistan
CNN Wire Staff
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) — Two private security contractors in Afghanistan were killed by coalition forces who mistook them for insurgents, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said Saturday. The incident happened Friday on a highway in the central province of Wardak, ISAF said.
A coalition patrol on the highway had just been fired at by insurgents in a location known as a hot spot for attacks, ISAF said. A vehicle then approached the coalition patrol at a high rate of speed with a man shooting out of the vehicle’s windows. “Perceiving the vehicle to be a threat, the gunner fired at the vehicle and killed two of the occupants,” ISAF said.
Coalition forces learned afterwards that the two people killed were private security contractors, ISAF said. Their employer wasn’t immediately known. ISAF said the contractors were probably trying to return fire against the same insurgents who had just attacked the coalition vehicle, and they had increased their speed to “break contact.” Coalition forces are now looking into the incident, ISAF said.
[EAW UPDATE: Officially, the identity of the slain contractors remains a mystery but chatter on the blogosphere suggests they were members of Watan Risk Management which, like ASG (another security contracting company) is reportedly run by “the extended Karzai family.” Watan Risk has been accused of paying taxes to the Taliban and offering bribes to Taliban leaders.]
US Troops Fire On Thousands Of Protesters Outside Bagram Base
Tom Mellen / Morning Star
LONDON (August 25, 2010) — US troops fired on thousands of Afghan civilians as they protested outside the massive US military base at Bagram on Monday. A provincial police official said that at least one civilian was killed in the incident, but NATO asserted that no civilians had been killed or injured.
The Western military alliance claimed that soldiers had only fired “warning shots” to disperse residents after they surrounded a military patrol and attacked vehicles outside the sprawling facility with rocks and iron bars. But Parwan province deputy police chief General Faqir Ahmad was adamant that one civilian had been killed — although he said he could not be sure who fired the fatal bullet.
Gen Ahmad said that the NATO shooting had served to enrage the crowd, which he put at about 2,000 people. He said that some responded by using rocks and sticks to attack police and the head of the district government, Kabir Ahmad, who had tried to calm the situation. He reported that Mr Ahmad and a police officer had sustained serious but not life-threatening injuries. Gen Ahmad went on to say that the rally had been triggered by the arrest of a religious teacher suspected of taking part in a rocket attack on occupation forces.
Also on Monday, officials and residents of Baghlan province in the north of the country accused NATO troops of killing eight civilians during a pre-dawn raid.
Mohammed Ismail, the governor of the Talah wa Barfak District, said that foreign troops broke into a district house at 2am and killed eight civilians, injured 12 and took nine prisoners. The province’s governor Munchi Abdul Majid confirmed the attack but could not provide details. NATO spokesman Major Michael Johnson said that he was unaware of any such attack.
Meanwhile the Taliban has reportedly attacked and torched a NATO convoy carrying fuel and materiel to US troops in the south. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack on the lorries destined for Helmand and alleged that the assault prompted US forces to evacuate their military base in Sangin.
NATO denied the Taliban’s claims and boasted that US-led troops had killed 40 militants in offensives this week in eastern Afghanistan. Monday’s clash between locals and occupation forces outside the Bagram base is the second such incident in 10 days.
On August 15 hundreds of residents participated in a militant demonstration in protest at the construction of military facilities on land owned by villagers. Protesters threw “baseball-size rocks” at troops as they escorted a mercenary to the base, according to NATO.
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Â© Copyright Tom Mellen, Morning Star (Britain), 2010
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