US Air Strike Kills Woman and Seven Kids in Afghanistan
January 16, 2014
AntiWar.com & Agence France-Presse & NATO International Security Assistance Force
Another US air strike against an Afghan village has ended in tragedy last night, with reports that the attack destroyed a home, killing a woman and seven children, and injuring at least one other civilian. Once again, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned the killing of civilians and demanded an end to US air strikes and drone attacks. NATO has expressed its "regret." The Obama Administration has yet to issue a response.
US Air Strike Killed Woman,
Seven Kids in Central Afghanistan
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(January 15, 2014) -- Another US air strike against an Afghan village has ended in tragedy last night, with reports that the attack destroyed a home, killing a woman and seven children, and injuring at least one other civilian.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai confirmed the incident, reiterating his long-standing demands to stop launching strikes in residential areas, and saying the incident further harmed US-Afghan relations.
The Obama Administration has yet to respond to the killings, while NATO said they are "aware" of the civilian deaths, though they also claimed the strike was aimed at "an enemy force."
NATO went on to issue a statement expressing "regret" for the civilian deaths, but touting the operation as having "disrupted" Taliban fighters in the area.
Afghan President Accuses US of
Killing 7 Children in Airstrike
KABUL (January 16, 2014) -- President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday accused the United States of killing seven children and a woman in an airstrike in central Afghanistan -- an incident set to further damage frayed ties between the two allies.
Relations between Washington and Kabul have been rocky for years, and negotiations over an agreement that would allow some US troops to remain in the country after this year have broken down into a long-running public dispute.
"As a result of bombardment by American forces last night. . . in Siahgird district of Parwan province, one woman and seven children were martyred and one civilian injured," a statement from Karzai's office said.
"The Afghan government has been asking for a complete end to operations in Afghan villages for years, but American forces acting against all mutual agreements. . . have once again bombarded a residential area and killed civilians."
Civilian casualties have been one of the most sensitive issues of the 13-year military intervention in Afghanistan, and Karzai has often used accidental shootings and misguided airstrikes to berate foreign countries and stir public anger.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), earlier said it was "aware of reports that at least two civilians were inadvertently killed today during an Afghan-led joint operation in Ghorband (Siahgird) District".
"An enemy force engaged Afghan and coalition forces from several compounds," it said. "Afghan and coalition forces returned fire and required defensive air support to suppress the enemy fire."
ISAF added that one of its soldiers was killed in the fighting, as well as at least 10 insurgents.
A Taliban spokesman said that 12 Afghan soldiers had been killed, but the insurgents often exaggerate death tolls.
Siahgird district, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Kabul, is on the main road from the capital to Bamiyan.
The route was considered safe, but the region has become increasingly violent with major clashes between Afghan security forces and the Taliban erupting since October.
Late last year, Karzai made a surprise decision not to promptly sign the bilateral security agreement (BSA) with the United States, leading to the threat of a complete withdrawal of NATO troops by the end of 2014.
The BSA would see several thousand US troops remain in Afghanistan to provide training and assistance in the battle against the Taliban after the NATO combat mission ends in December.
Signing the agreement is also a precondition for the delivery of billions of dollars in Western aid for Afghanistan, which will hold an election to choose Karzai's successor in April.
Afghanistan's army and police have developed rapidly in the past four years, but the country risks slipping into turmoil without foreign assistance if Islamist militias and warlords vie for power.
Relations between the United States and Afghanistan also worsened when Kabul last week said it would release scores of alleged Taliban fighters from jail as there was no evidence against them.
US President Barack Obama on Monday insisted he had faith in his Afghan war strategy after former defense secretary Robert Gates claimed the president had soured on his 2009 decision to send in 30,000 extra troops.
(How NATO Apologizes for Killing a Family)
ANSF-led Parwan Operation Disrupts
High-threat Insurgent Area
NATO / International Security Assistance Force
KABUL, Afghanistan (January, 15, 2014) -- International Security Assistance Force regrets that civilians were killed Jan. 15 during a deliberately planned, Afghan-led clearing operation to disrupt insurgent activity in Ghorband district, Parwan province.
The mission, led by commandos of the 6th Special Operations Kandak and supported by ISAF special operations advisers, was conducted to disrupt insurgent activities in the district, including attacks on Bagram Airfield, and in support of Afghan National Security Forces' tactical priorities. Local district and provincial officials were informed in advance of the operation and were provided updates during and after the actions.
The operation was conducted in a high threat area with Taliban activity, some linked to the Haqqani network. The insurgents in this area enjoy freedom of movement allowing them to harass and threaten the local population as well as stage and facilitate attacks.
The majority of the intelligence for the operation was provided by Afghan forces. Qari Nazar Gul, Taliban Deputy Shadow Governor for Parwan Province and a member of the senior Taliban Commission, was known to operate in the area.
Gul has ties to the Haqqani network and transports weapons, fighters and suicide bombers to Parwan and Kabul. Gul has conducted attacks against ANSF and Coalition Forces including a complex attack at Bagram Airfield.
Noorullah is a mid-level Taliban Commander in Ghorband district who coordinates attacks and emplaces IEDs targeting ANSF patrols and check points in the area where this operation was conducted. He also distributes weapons, ammunition and rockets to Taliban fighters.
While moving through Ghorband district, ANSF commandos and their coalition advisers came under heavy fire from insurgents, resulting in the death of one ISAF service member. The force required defensive air support to suppress the enemy fire from two compounds.
According to initial operational reports, at least 10 insurgents were killed. Tragically, two civilians inside a building from which insurgents were firing on the commandos were killed.
The force recovered insurgent ammunition and weapons, as well as several Afghan National Army uniforms during the operation.
ISAF regrets any civilian casualties and will continue working with our Afghan partners to determine all the facts surrounding this incident.
ISAF Public Affairs Office
Primary: Tel +93 (0) 700 13 2114/ 2266 / 2928
Mobile: +93 (0) 706 334 725
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