BY MURIEL KANE
In a Friday press release, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) condemned a NATO airstrike which killed 95 people, including much of the population of a small Afghan village, and renewed his call for the United States to withdraw its forces from both Afghanistan and Iraq.
“News reports covering today’s attack by the U.S. command southwest of Kunduz province show that the good intentions of NATO forces in Afghanistan are not sufficient,” Kucinich stated. “If we want to avoid killing innocent civilians, we must end the war.”
The incident occurred after Taliban fighters hijacked two oil tankers and drove them to a village under their control, where they became stuck in the mud. The local villagers then emerged to try to siphon off the fuel. Meanwhile, the hijacking was reported to German troops, who called for an airstrike. The fireball when the trucks were hit killed or badly burned many of the villagers along with some Taliban.
According to the independent, “Western forces were engulfed in bitter controversy yesterday” as the extent of the carnage became apparent. “Nato initially insisted that all the dead were Taliban insurgents. Later, after angry protests from local residents and officials, they acknowledged there had been civilian deaths.”
General Stanley McChrystal, who commands NATO forces in Afghanistan, is now facing questions over why the attack was authorized, given his prior orders forbidding any airstrikes with a prospect of civilian casualties unless allied forces are in imminent danger.
“The attack … could not have come at a more volatile time in Afghanistan,” theIndependent article continues, “with intense anger over civilian casualties and an intensifying clash between President Hamid Karzai and Washington over the disputed national election.”
Public support for the Afghan War is declining in both the United States and Europe. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is under particular pressure at the moment, following the unanticipated resignation of an aide to the UK’s Defence Secretary in protest over the war.
Kucinich’s press release concludes, “There is little hope for a truly independent investigation because the Karzai Government is compromised and NATO forces are digging in for the long term based on the Administration’s policy. The war in Afghanistan is quickly developing into a tragedy of monumental proportions. It is time for the U.S. to end this war and bring our troops home.”