Anti-War.com & Associated Press & Agence France-Presse & YNet News & Associated Press – 2012-01-19 00:39:08
NATO Kills Five Civilians in Northeast
Jason Ditz / Anti-War.com
(January 18, 2012) — Kunar Province Governor Sayed Fazelullah Wahidi is reporting that an overnight raid by NATO forces on Monday has killed at least five civilians, including a woman and two children. The raid was part of a “kill-and-capture” operation in the Chawkay District.
NATO said it was “aware” of the operation and was looking into the report of civilian deaths. The governor said NATO attack helicopters fired into the civilians’ home, allegedly targeting a pair of militants who were hiding inside, but killed the residents as well.
Night raids by NATO forces have been hugely controversial across Afghanistan, particularly for the number of times innocent people’s homes were mistakenly targeted. The number of raids “gone wrong,” has left large civilian tolls.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly demanded that NATO halt the policy of night raids, saying that Afghan civilians no longer feel safe in their own homes if occupation forces can burst in during the night. The US has rejected the calls, insisting that they don’t require Karzai’s permission.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, 13 people were killed in the southern Helmand Province in a pair of Taliban attacks. NATO reports that some of the wounded were NATO soldiers, and at least five of the slain were Afghan officials.
Afghan Official Says NATO Forces Kill 5 Civilians
Rahim Faiez / Associated Press
KABUL, Afghanistan (January 18, 2012) — A senior Afghan official said Wednesday that NATO forces killed five civilians, including one woman and two children, during a night raid earlier this week in northeastern Afghanistan. A NATO statement said the alliance was aware of a military operation in Chawkay district of Kunar province on Monday and was checking into the report.
Sayed Fazelullah Wahidi, governor of Kunar province, which includes the district, said the raid occurred Monday night. He said coalition helicopters fired into a compound, killing two militants and five civilians, including a woman and two children.
Coalition troops and Afghan special forces have been carrying out regular nighttime kill-and-capture raids against suspected insurgents across Afghanistan.
But the operations and allegations of civilian deaths have provoked anger over foreign meddling in Afghanistan and whether detention operations will be run by the Afghans or Americans.
President Hamid Karzai has demanded that foreign troops stop entering homes, saying Afghan citizens cannot feel secure if they think armed soldiers might burst into their houses in the middle of the night.
In November, Karzai convened a traditional national assembly known as a Loya Jirga that stopped short of demanding a complete end to night raids. Instead, it asked that they be led and controlled by Afghan security forces.
Meanwhile, Afghan security forces said they had killed nine armed insurgents and captured 23 suspects in a series of raids in the past 24 hours. An Interior Ministry statement issued Wednesday morning said the operations in eight different provinces also uncovered caches of weapons, ammunition and explosives.
The Afghan Defense Ministry says a soldier was killed and four were wounded in clashes with insurgents on Tuesday. Fighting across the country appears to have decreased in recent weeks, after heavy snows blanketed much of the mountainous terrain in which the Taliban usually operate.
(c) Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Karzai Wants Immediate Halt to NATO Night Raids
KABUL (December 20, 2011) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday demanded an immediate halt to NATO-led night raids after the military insisted the operations will continue despite the recent death of a pregnant woman. Karzai has led public criticism of the controversial raids, saying they endanger lives and harass local communities, and repeatedly called on US-led international forces to stop entering Afghan homes.
The latest spat comes after the pregnant wife of an anti-drugs official was killed during a raid in the eastern Paktia province in the early hours of Saturday when NATO-led forces returned gunfire coming from a compound. NATO has defended the operations as the safest way of targeting insurgent leaders, insisting they will continue but with the increasing involvement of Afghan Special Forces.
“The president of Afghanistan wants an immediate halt to the night raids and house searches of Afghans,” presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi said. “He doesn’t want any foreigner to go to the homes of Afghans and search their homes.”
A loya jirga meeting of Afghan elders last month made halting the raids a condition of a strategic partnership document being negotiated with Washington. The agreement will govern the relationship between American troops and the Afghan government after the scheduled withdrawal of combat troops in 2014.
“What NATO officials say is in total contradiction to the decisions of the loya jirga, to the demands of the Afghan peopleâ€¦and it is in total contradiction to what the president of Afghanistan wants,” Faizi said. “One of the main reasons that we have not been able to agree on a strategic partnership is the problem of night raids on Afghan houses.” He said the Afghan government would have no problem with the raids if they were “100 percent conducted by Afghans”. “We don’t want the war on terrorism to be fought inside people’s houses,” he added.
The spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson, said in 85 percent of night raids no shot is fired and they cause less than one percent of civilian casualties. “Night operations remain the safest form of operations conducted to take insurgent leaders off the battlefield,” he said Monday.
Jacobson said it was in everybody’s interests to “Afghanise” the night raids as quickly as possible, that numbers of Afghan special forces were being increased, and that Afghan troops were involved in almost all such operations.
The raid on Saturday targeted a leader of the Taliban-linked Haqqani militant network, NATO said, but the Paktia provincial governor described it as an “arbitrary operation”. The provincial anti-drugs chief was detained but has since been released. A suspected insurgent remains in custody.
On Saturday, two wounded women were evacuated after they were found in a room where the shooting had come from and one of them, the pregnant wife of the anti-narcotics chief Hafeezullah, later died of a gunshot wound. Several of the man’s sisters and daughters were also injured in the raid, he was quoted as saying.
According to the United Nations, the number of civilians killed in violence in Afghanistan rose by 15 percent in the first six months of this year to 1,462, with insurgents blamed for 80 percent of the killings. There are around 140,000 international troops in Afghanistan fighting a decade-long Taliban insurgency alongside Afghan government forces.
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