Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Taimoor Shah and Carlotta Gall report in today's The New York Times that U.S. bombing has killed up to 100 villagers in western Afghanistan, many of them women and children. Apparently Afghan forces attacked a suspected Taliban house and then called in U.S. war planes. The result is all too predictable.

Write Shah and Gall:

"Dozens of civilians, including women and children, have been killed during bombing raids by United States forces in western Afghanistan as Afghan troops battled Taliban fighters in heavy fighting, the Red Cross said Wednesday, confirming earlier accounts by Afghan officials.

"Enraged villagers brought between 20 and 25 bodies from their district to the capital of Farah Province to show them to officials, the officials said Tuesday. Villagers’ accounts put the death toll at 70 to 100, they said."

I have been long arguing for a complete cessation of U.S. air attacks. There is no way that such attacks are not going to inflict unacceptable civilian casualties. Perhaps the U.S. government still permits these attacks, misunderstanding who the "enemy" is. Members of the Taliban are just ordinary Afghanis, undereducated, simple farmers living with their families in agrarian villages. The Taliban thus represent a true insurgency against U.S. occupying and invading military. If the U.S. and Obama are going to "defeat" the Taliban, it cannot be by force of guns or war planes dropping bombs.

Consider the following from the Shah and Gall report:

"Villagers told Afghan officials that they had put children, women, and elderly men in several housing compounds away from the fighting to keep them safe. But the villagers said fighter aircraft later attacked those compounds in the village of Gerani, killing a majority of those inside, The A.P. reported.

"Mohammad Nieem Qadderdan, the former top official in the district of Bala Baluk, said he had seen dozens of bodies when he visited the village of Gerani.

"“These houses that were full of children and women and elders were bombed by planes. It is very difficult to say how many were killed because nobody can count the number, it is too early,” Mr. Qadderdan, who no longer holds a government position, told The A.P. by telephone. “People are digging through rubble with shovels and hands.”"

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