Afghan probe: US strike killed 140 people, many children


“Obama’s really following through on those campaign promises, huh? Is anyone seeing beyond the making of a political celebrity yet? You realize this is who Obama is right. Nothing more and maybe a little less. He lied to you and he lies to himself every day. It must be a sad and lonely life. Well, I guess it’s not as bad as these Afgan kids whos houses get blown up, limbs amputated, and young bodies mutilated by orders from our Comander & Chief… you guest it, Obama.”

-F.F. 5/17/09

By Stephen C. Webster

U.S. air strikes on Afghanistan’s Farah province on May 4 left 140 dead, an Afghan investigation has concluded. According to reports, 118 of the victims were women and children, the youngest an 8-day-old baby boy.

“Afghans have heard promises from the US before that they would take all possible steps to avoid civilian casualties,” Human Rights Watch’s Asia director, Brad Adams, said in a statement.

“But if the US is to have any credibility, this latest outrage needs to be the last of its kind,” he said.

“The official death toll, announced by the Afghan Defense Ministry, makes the bombing the deadliest incident for civilians since U.S. forces began fighting the Taliban in 2001, and is likely to worsen anger over the presence of foreign troops,” reported Reuters.

“The US military has acknowledged that ‘a number’ of civilians were killed, but said it was impossible to say how many because all the bodies were buried before investigators arrived,” noted Al Jazeera.

“Colonel Greg Julian, a US military spokesman, said that two US investigations were still under way, one ordered by commanders in Afghanistan immediately after the incident and another ordered more recently by US Central Command, responsible for the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq.”

The investigation, which was reported on earlier this week, concluded Saturday. A list of victims was presented to President Hamid Karzai.

“Titled ‘list of the martyrs of the bombardment of Bala Boluk district of Farah Province’, it includes the name, age and father’s name of each alleged victim,” Reuters noted in an earlier report.

“The youngest was listed as 8-day-old baby Sayed Musa, son of Sayed Adam. Fifty-three victims were girls under the age of 18, and 40 were boys. Only 22 were men 18 or older.”

The U.S. has said Taliban militants in Afghanistan were using civilians as human shields, while other reports assert the fighters left Farah Province before the bombardment began.

“Chief Petty Officer Brian Naranjo, a U.S. military spokesman, disputed Barakat’s allegations. Naranjo said the airstrikes were in response to an attack by Taliban forces,” reported UPI.

“The entire operation was in response to the Taliban attack. It was never an offensive engagement. The fight was in reaction,” Naranjo told the wire service.


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