teleSURtv & Jeremy Scahill / The Intercept – 2016-06-15 23:35:10
US Clears Soldiers Accused of Killing 7 in Afghanistan
(June 2, 2016) — The US Department of Defense absolved soldiers involved in the deaths of seven civilians, including two pregnant women, an investigation by The Intercept revealed Wednesday.
The report from The Intercept came as a result of a freedom of information request that revealed that the Pentagon found the soldiers followed the rules of engagement and therefore they did not warrant any disciplinary measures.
According to those documents, the Department of Defense found that “the amount of force utilized was necessary, proportional and applied at appropriate time” but did mention that “tactical mistakes” were made.
The incident in question happened in February 2010 in the Paktia province, Afghanistan. Shortly after the incident, a press release published by NATO said the soldiers happened upon the bodies of civilians after a gun battle with alleged Taliban combatants.
Witnesses, however, told a very different story.
What the US and NATO claimed was a “Taliban compound” turned out the be the family estate of Mohammed Daoud Sharabuddin.
Daoud was a police officer who worked closely with US forces in Afghanistan.
According to The Intercept, family and friends of Daoud had gathered at his home to celebrate a newborn son.
Daoud was reportedly the first person shot. He had exited his home thinking that the estate was under attack by the Taliban due to his association with the National Police. The Defense Department report would justify his killing by claiming he showed “hostile intent” by emerging with a rifle.
Ultimately the massacre would take seven lives.
NATO was eventually forced to retract its statement that the women had been killed as part of a so-called honor killing.
Witnesses said that the soldiers allegedly engaged in behavior suggesting they were trying to cover up their actions.
“They were taking out the bullets from their bodies to remove the proof of their crime,” one witness told The Intercept.
The investigation concluded that this did not occur, but the section detailing that allegation was heavily redacted, purportedly for national security reasons.
The Intercept spoke with the family elder, a man named Hajji Sharabuddin, who told them they did not accept the apology from the US government.
“Initially, we were thinking that Americans were the friends of Afghans, but now we think that Americans themselves are terrorists. Americans are our enemy. They bring terror and destruction. Americans not only destroyed my house, they destroyed my family,” said Sharabuddin.
Pentagon: Special Ops Killing of Pregnant Afghan Women Was “Appropriate” Use of Force
Jeremy Scahill / The Intercept
(June 1, 2016) — An internal Defense Department investigation into one of the most notorious night raids conducted by special operations forces in Afghanistan — in which seven civilians were killed, including two pregnant women — determined that all the US soldiers involved had followed the rules of engagement.
As a result, the soldiers faced no disciplinary measures, according to hundreds of pages of Defense Department documents obtained by The Intercept through the Freedom of Information Act.
In the aftermath of the raid, Adm. William McRaven, at the time the commander of the elite Joint Special Operations Command, took responsibility for the operation. The documents made no unredacted mention of JSOC.
Although two children were shot during the raid and multiple witnesses and Afghan investigators alleged that US soldiers dug bullets out of the body of at least one of the dead pregnant women, Defense Department investigators concluded that “the amount of force utilized was necessary, proportional and applied at appropriate time.”
The investigation did acknowledge that “tactical mistakes” were made.
The Defense Department’s conclusions bear a resemblance to US Central Command’s findings in the aftermath of the horrifying attack on a Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, last October in which 42 patients and medical workers were killed in a sustained barrage of strikes by an AC-130.
The Pentagon has announced that no criminal charges will be brought against any members of the military for the Kunduz strike. CENTCOM’s Kunduz investigation concluded that “the incident resulted from a combination of unintentional human errors, process errors, and equipment failures.” CENTCOM denied the attack constituted a war crime, a claim challenged by international law experts and MSF.
Although two children were shot during the raid and multiple witnesses and Afghan investigators alleged that US soldiers dug bullets out of the body of at least one of the dead pregnant women, Defense Department investigators concluded that “the amount of force utilized was necessary, proportional and applied at appropriate time.” The investigation did acknowledge that “tactical mistakes” were made. . . .
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