Recent US Airstrikes Kill 22 Afghan Civilians, Mostly Women And Children

The U.N. mission in Afghanistan expressed "grave concern" at the violence in Helmand, saying its initial inquiries suggest the airstrikes killed at least 18 civilians, "nearly all women and children."
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    Photo of Hellfire missiles being loaded onto a US military Reaper drone in Afghanistan by Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson/U.S. Air Force

    Hellfire missiles being loaded onto a US military Reaper drone in Afghanistan. (Photo: Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson/U.S. Air Force)

    KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (REPORT) — Afghan officials and local residents said Sunday that 22 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed during a joint operation carried out by U.S. and Afghan forces last week in the southern Helmand province.

    The presidential envoy for security in Helmand, Jabar Qahraman, said the raid against Taliban insurgents in the Sangin district killed 13 people from one family and nine from another.

    “We are saddened to hear the news of civilians being killed,” he said. “When the Taliban use civilians as their shield against security forces, such incidents occur.”

    U.S. Navy Cpt. Bill Salvin, a military spokesman, said “we are working diligently to determine whether civilians were killed or injured as a result of U.S. airstrikes” carried out to support Afghan forces in and around Sangin. The investigation is “continuing and has not reached any conclusions,” he added in a written statement.

    The U.N. mission in Afghanistan meanwhile expressed “grave concern” at the violence in Helmand, saying its initial inquiries suggest airstrikes by international forces killed at least 18 civilians, “nearly all women and children.”

    Hameed Gul, a local resident, said he lost nine members of his family, including his mother and sister, in Thursday’s raid. “It’s all lie that they were attacking the Taliban,” he told The Associated Press in the Helmand provincial capital, Lashkar Gah, where he was staying at the time of the raid.

    Kareem Atal, the head of the provincial council in Helmand, said a man, two women and two children who were wounded in the raid have been brought to Lashkar Gah for treatment.

    Helmand has seen months of heavy fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban, who have repeatedly attacked Lashkar Gah. A suicide bomber targeting soldiers in the city on Saturday killed at least seven people.

    The Taliban have stepped up attacks across Afghanistan since the U.S. and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, leaving a smaller contingent of troops behind to focus on training and counterterrorism.

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    • Mikronos

      Should we be showing the faces of CIA (?) or civilian personnel working on what could be a war crimes charge?

    • righton

      Muslim Human Shields are fair game.

    • edfelien

      The Sunday, July 12, edition of the New York Times reported that General Nicholson appeared before the Senate Armed Forces Committee last week and admitted that the war in Afghanistan is a stalemate, that NATO is investigating a U S attack that probably killed 22 civilians, that the rebels control most of the countryside, and (in spite of all that) he asked for a “few thousand” more troops.
      The U S has conducted more than 30 bombing runs on Sangin in Helmand Province on the north side of Highway 101A, and, on the south side of 101A at Lashkar Gah, suicide bombers attacked Afghan soldiers and killed 8 and wounded 25.
      Highway 101A is the route the Opium Warlords use to transport opium from Helmand Province to Pakistan where it is made into heroin. The heroin then travels back down 101A through Afghanistan to Turkmenistan where it goes to Europe and America.
      We don’t need to continue losing American lives to protect the drug trade in Afghanistan.

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      • Mikronos

        Or cheap?