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|lives lost in Afghanistan...|
|11/02/01 at 23:28:32|
Pentagon: Afghan village a 'legitimate target'
WASHINGTON (CNN) --U.S. military officials say an Afghan village hit by
American aircraft more than a week ago was a "Taliban encampment" providing
support to the al Qaeda terrorist network and was therefore a "fully
"We hit what we wanted to hit," a Pentagon official speaking on the
condition of anonymity told CNN.
The official said the village of Chowkar-Karez, approximately 60 kilometers
(40 miles) north of the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, had been "positively
identified as a Taliban encampment including al Qaeda collaborators."
"The people there are dead because we wanted them dead," the official said.
The village was attacked about 2330 local time on October 22 with torrents
of withering fire from an AC-130 aerial gunship, known in the military as
Earlier the humanitarian group Human Rights Watch released a statement
saying it had reports detailing "25 civilians killed in the village".
However, Pentagon officials take issue with the term "civilians" in the
context of the military action in Afghanistan saying members of the Taliban
and al Qaeda often do not wear uniforms.
Chowkar-Karez, they say, provided support and refuge to terrorists.
Taliban authorities have said that between 90 and 100 civilians were killed
in the U.S. attack.
CNN's Nic Robertson has not been able to verify the Talban's statements on
casualties but was allowed to visit the ruins of the village which had been
virtually leveled by the attack.
As with all assignments in Afghanistan he was accompanied by a Taliban guide
and other officials, although he says his reports are not usually censored.
A mullah from the village told the reporters that the bombing came soon
after a convoy of people afraid of the continued bombing raids over Kandahar
arrived in the town seeking sanctuary.
The Taliban officials accompanying Robertson and other reporters said the
village had no military function, and counted only civilians among its
Survivors said the bombing was carried out not only by jets, but also by
helicopters. All of them denied the Pentagon's assertion that the village
was a base for Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters.
Robertson said the village's 15 houses had been destroyed, and the rubble
contained no articles of obvious military value.
Instead, he said, boxes of soap, children's shoes, women's clothing and
other domestic articles lay among the destruction.
Among the wreckage were fragments of missiles, bombs and shrapnel.
-- CNN National Security Producer Chris Plante in Washington and Nic
Robertson in Kandahar, Afghanistan contributed to this report
|Re: lives lost in Afghanistan...|
|11/02/01 at 23:29:37|
Afghanistan: New Civilian Deaths Due to U.S. Bombing
[url=http://www.hrw.org/press/2001/10/afghan1030.htm]Human Rights Watch[/url]
(Quetta, Pakistan, October 30, 2001) -- At least twenty-five, and possibly
as many as thirty-five, Afghan civilians died when U.S. bombs and gunfire
hit their village, Chowkar-Karez, on the night of October 22, Human Rights
Watch said today.
None of the witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch knew of Taliban or
Al-Qaida positions in the area of the attack.
Human Rights Watch reiterated its call to the U.S.-led alliance to ensure
that it is taking adequate precautions to avoid civilian casualties, and
called for an immediate investigation into the bombing raid that hit
Chowkar-Karez, located some forty kilometers north of the Taliban stronghold
"If there were military targets in the area, we'd like to know what they
were," said Sidney Jones, Asia Director of Human Rights Watch. "This is the
second instance in less than a week in which we've documented substantial
civilian casualties from U.S. bombing raids. The Pentagon has got to do more
to avoid these deaths."
Human Rights Watch researchers located six wounded survivors of the October
22 bombing raid that hit Chowkar-Karez. The six are currently recovering in
Quetta hospitals. Human Rights Watch also interviewed several additional
persons who witnessed the attack but were not hurt.
Among those wounded by the bombing are forty-year-old Sardar Bibi, who lost
her husband and six children in the attack; five-year-old Shabir Ahmed, who
received severe shrapnel wounds to his head and remains unconscious; Shabir
Ahmed's seven-year-old brother, who was also wounded; and three adult
According to the highly consistent accounts of the survivors, the bombs came
from several aircraft that flew over the village of Chowkar-Karez, which is
located in the Buri-Kala area of Kandahar province, some forty kilometers
north of the city of Kandahar. The attack began at about 11 p.m. on the
night of Monday, October 22, 2001. Many of the people in the village then
ran out of their homes, afraid that the bombs would fall on the homes. All
witnesses stated that aircraft then returned to the area and began firing
from guns. Many of the civilians were killed from the firing. The bombing
and firing lasted for about one hour.
One family interviewed by Human Rights Watch provided the names of eighteen
relatives killed in the incident, and another unrelated woman told Human
Rights Watch that her husband and six children were killed, and that she had
been told that as many as thirty-five people died in the raid.
All of the witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch were adamant that
there were no Taliban or Al-Qaida positions in the area of the attack, which
is in a remote rural area of Afghanistan. In almost all other cases of
civilian casualties caused by the U.S.-led bombing campaign investigated by
Human Rights Watch, survivors and witnesses have been forthcoming in
identifying Taliban or Al-Qaida military positions located nearby which
could have been the target of the attack. It is impossible for Human Rights
Watch to verify independently whether Taliban or Al-Qaida military targets
existed in the area of Chowkar-Karez village, but the consistent statements
of all witnesses and survivors that there were none is notable.
Mushfeqa, aged twenty, was interviewed by Human Rights Watch in a Quetta
hospital where she and two sisters were recovering from shrapnel wounds. She
explained that she and her extended family had fled from the city of
Kandahar to their rural homes in Chowkar-Karez when the U.S.-led bombing
campaign began. Referring to October 22, she told Human Rights Watch, "It
was at about 11 p.m. First, one plane came and dropped a bomb. We ran out of
the home, because we were afraid to die there. Then, some went back inside.
I was at the door, and some of the small children were outside. Then the
plane came and it was firing. I saw my mother and my brother shot. My uncle
ran to his car to turn off the lights. Then a bomb hit the car and he died.
... When the next bomb came, I was inside the room. I was injured from the
Belqais, aged forty, a relative of Mushfeqa, confirmed to Human Rights Watch
the deaths of her two brothers and many of their relatives. She named among
the dead her eldest brother Noor Ahmed, aged fifty, his wife Masooma, aged
thirty-five, and their four children, as well as her second brother, Saleh
Ahmed, aged thirty-five, his wife Zarmina, and one of their sons. The two
surviving sons of Saleh Ahmed, aged five and seven, are currently
hospitalized in Quetta and were visited by Human Rights Watch. Belkais
stated that other family members had also died.
Shafiqa, a sister of Mushfeqa who was also wounded in the attack, told Human
Rights Watch that in total nineteen members of the extended family had died
and provided a list of names which included the names provided by Belqais
and Mushfeqa as well as others.
Another unrelated victim of the attack, located independently by Human
Rights Watch, provided additional and confirming information of the
incident. Sardar Bibi, aged about forty, is currently recovering in another
hospital in Quetta. She told Human Rights Watch, "I was wounded five days
ago. It was at night, at about 11:30 or so, I don't know the exact time as
we were sleeping. Suddenly the bombardment started. We went out of the house
because we were afraid they would bombard the house. Then, we were running
with our neighbors. Another bomb fell down. ...The plane was circling and
also shooting. First, a plane came and dropped a bomb, but the other plane
kept circling." Her husband, Daulat Khan, and all of her six children were
killed during the attack. Her children included two
one-and-one-half-year-old twins, Mohammed Yasin and Mohammed Yusof,
fourteen-year-old Akhter Bibi, fifteen-year-old Najia, sixteen-year-old
Maimana, and eighteen-year-old Mariam.
She confirmed that there had been many civilian casualties in the village,
and gave a similar death toll from one family as that given by the family
interviewed by Human Rights Watch (see above): "Many people died and many
were wounded. Eighteen people died from our neighborhood, and seventeen
others died who were relatives."
The incident in Chowkar-Karez village happened a day after twenty-three
civilians, the majority of them children, were killed when U.S. bombs hit
the remote Afghan village of Thori located near a Taliban military base in
Oruzgan province (see Human Rights Watch release, "Afghanistan: U.S. Bombs
Kill Twenty-three Civilians," October 26, 2001 at
"We urge the Pentagon to investigate immediately what went wrong on October
22 and to take all feasible steps to avoid repetition of such a tragedy,"
|Re: lives lost in Afghanistan...|
|11/03/01 at 17:24:56|
US media make a big deal of bin Laden's statement regarding the "killing of Americans wherever you find them, make no distinction between military and civilians" yet when Afghan villages are bombed, these turn out to be legitimate targets.
However, the mujahideen have a welcome in store for them, and our duas are with them, with the innocent refugees who did nothing to america, and those who have perished only because they said La ilaha illa Allah. ameen.
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