US/NATO Continue Killing Civilians: Latest Victim, a Child in Afghanistan

March 26th, 2011 - by admin

UPI & Solomon Moore / Associated Press & Trend – 2011-03-26 00:54:16

NATO Probes Claim It Killed Afghan Child
United Press International

KABUL, Afghanistan, (March 24, 2011) — NATO said Thursday it will investigate a police claim a NATO helicopter gunship targeting terrorists killed a child in the eastern Afghan Khost province.

Coalition forces opened fire from the attack helicopter on a car carrying a group of suspected Haqqani network terrorists Wednesday but accidentally hit another vehicle, killing the child, Khost Police Chief Abdul Hakim Esahaqaai told reporters. The Haqqani network is an independent insurgent group in Afghanistan and Pakistan closely allied with the Taliban Islamist militia group.

In addition to the child, two civilian men and a woman were injured, Esahaqaai said.

NATO’s statement about the attack did not mention hitting the other car. But it said its forces inadvertently killed two civilians on the street while attacking the suspected insurgents.

“At the time of the strike, two civilians were walking near the moving targeted vehicle,” NATO said. “They were previously unseen by coalition forces prior to the initiation of the airstrike. Unfortunately both were killed as an unintended result of the strike.”

The “precision airstrike” killed a Haqqani leader and two other insurgents in the targeted vehicle, NATO said. Accidental civilian casualties due to coalition troop operations are a major source of strain between Afghanistan and NATO.

(c) 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

NATO Airstrike Accidentally Kills 2 Civilians
Solomon Moore / Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (March 24, 2011) — A NATO helicopter gunship inadvertently killed two civilians while attacking suspected insurgents in the eastern province of Khost, NATO announced Thursday. The attack targeted a Haqqani network leader in Tere Zayi district on Wednesday, according to NATO.

“At the time of the strike, two civilians were walking near the moving targeted vehicle,” NATO said. “They were previously unseen by coalition forces prior to the initiation of the airstrike. Unfortunately both were killed as an unintended result of the strike.”

Khost provincial police chief Abdul Hakim Ishaqzai said at least one of the civilians was a child.

NATO’s initial description of Wednesday’s attack said a “precision airstrike” killed the Haqqani leader and two other insurgents while they were driving in a vehicle. That announcement also described how NATO troops nearly missed civilians near the site of the attack. “Just prior to the weapon impact, an unassociated civilian vehicle and two pedestrians walking in a wadi appeared, next to the target vehicle,” NATO said. Wadis are dried out riverbeds.

Afghan forces determined that the occupants of the vehicle were unharmed, NATO said. It was unclear what happened to the Haqqani network leader.

Accidental deaths of civilians due to coalition military operations in Afghanistan are a major source of tensions between Afghans and NATO. US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates personally apologized to Afghan President Hamid Karzai after NATO troops in a helicopter gunship misidentified nine children gathering firewood for insurgents and killed them. The killing sparked protests throughout the country and calls for the international force to cease airstrikes and night raids.

At least 2,777 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2010, a 15 percent increase over the prior year, according to a recent United Nations report. The insurgency was blamed for most of those deaths, and while civilian deaths attributed to NATO troops declined 21 percent in 2010, Afghan leaders say the number remains too high.

Also Thursday, Britain’s defense ministry said two soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan. The Ministry of Defense said the soldiers had just completed an operation with the Afghan National Army and the Danish Battle Group to disrupt insurgent activity and search compounds in the Nahr-e Saraj District of Helmand province.

The soldiers were returning to their own camp when their vehicle was hit by an explosion Wednesday. Both members of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards were due to return home in six days. The soldiers were not identified but the ministry said their families had been informed.

The deaths bring to 362 the number of British forces and civilian defense workers killed in Afghanistan since 2001. International forces have been fighting pitched battles for control of the southern part of the country, which is a key Taliban stronghold. The latest deaths also bring to 23 the number of coalition service members who have died in Afghanistan so far this month.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

US/NATO Have a Long Record of
Killing Civilians in Afghanistan

NATO “Mistakenly” Kills Five Civilians, Afghan Official Says

(February 24, 2011) — Fire from a NATO helicopter allegedly killed five civilians including two children in north-eastern Afghanistan Thursday after mistaking them for militants, a local official said.

The pre-dawn strike happened as the civilians were climbing a mountain for bird-hunting in Ala Sai district of Kapisa province, Mullah Mohammad Omari, the district chief, said, DPA reported.

“Three of the men were carrying hunting guns and the NATO helicopter mistook them for militants,” Omari told the German Press Agency DPA. Taliban militants are active in the Dra Shepi area where the incident took place, he said.

The dead included a father, his 12-year-old son and 13-year-old nephew, Omari said.

“The government has banned hunting in this area because of the presence of enemies, but these families are very poor. They don’t have meat for months, so I can’t really blame them,” he added. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force has not commented on the incident.

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