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U.S. slaughters Afghan civilians including children

Published Mar 12, 2011 10:44 AM

On March 1 in the village of Nanglam in Afghanistan, the people heard gunfire in the nearby mountains. They became worried when some of their children did not return home. The boys had been out collecting firewood since morning, and the villagers went to look for them.

“Finally we found the dead bodies,” said Ashabuddin, a shopkeeper from a nearby village whose nephew Khalid was among the missing. “Some of the dead bodies were really badly chopped up by the rockets,” he said. “The head of a child was missing. Others were missing limbs.”

“We tried to find the body pieces and put them together. As it was getting late, we brought down the bodies in a rope bed. We buried them in the village’s cemetery,” Ashabuddin added. “The children were all from poor families; otherwise, no one would send their sons up to the mountains despite the known threats.”

Khalid, 14, was the only male in the family, Ashabuddin said. “He was studying in sixth grade of the orphanage school and working because his father died four years ago due to a long-term sickness. His father was a day laborer. He has 13 sisters and two mothers. He was the sole breadwinner of the family. I don’t know what would happen to his family, to his sisters and mothers. They are all female and poor.” (New York Times, March 2)

In all, nine children ranging in age from 9 to 15 years old were massacred by U.S. helicopter gunships. A tenth boy, Hemad, aged 11, was wounded and only survived because he was hidden by branches from a tree which had been shattered by a rocket. “The helicopters,” said Hemad, “shot the boys one after another.” (New York Times)

Responses to this war crime were so furious that Gen. David H. Petraeus was forced to issue an apology, claiming that the killings were a case of “mistaken identity.” On March 2, over 200 people in Nanglam protested the boys’ deaths. Waving white flags, they shouted, “Death to America!” and “Death to Obama and his colleagues and associates!”

Mohammed Bismil, the 20-year-old brother of two boys killed in the strike told the Wall Street Journal that he didn’t care about Petraeus’ apology. “The only option I have is to pick up a Kalashnikov, RPG [rocket propelled grenade] or a suicide vest to fight,” he said. (DailyMail, March 3)

A racist, genocidal campaign

The Kunar valley region of Afghanistan has long been a target of U.S. and NATO forces in the region. The province is informally known to the U.S. military occupying Afghanistan as “Enemy Central” and “Indian country.”

Since the 101st Airborne Division arrived in eastern Afghanistan in June of 2010, its troops have killed about 2,500 people, compared with about 1,500 in the same period the previous year, according to Maj. Gen. John Campbell, the top commander in eastern Afghanistan.

“That’s been our most kinetic area,” said Campbell. “We’ve dropped over 900 bombs since we’ve been here, and probably greater than 50 percent has been up there. We’ve fired over 30,000 artillery rounds, mortar rounds, and much of it has been up there. “(Washington Post Foreign Service, Feb. 20)

In February, Afghan government officials alleged that a U.S. military operation in the remote mountains in the same province killed 65 people, including 22 women and more than 30 children. In another incident, NATO forces killed an Afghan army officer and his entire family.

Meeting with Afghan government officials to discuss the incidents, NATO’s commander, Gen. David Petraeus, “insinuated that some Afghan parents deliberately burn their children’s hands and feet to present them as civilian casualties.” Petraeus has not responded to the widespread outrage his comment has produced. ( Guardian, Feb. 22)

The fact that a man of Petraeus’ stature feels he can publicly make such a racist comment shows that the U.S. and its allies have no respect for any Afghans, ordinary civilians or government officials alike. The imperialists are equally contemptuous of human life, even if it is children they are killing.

The U.S. must immediately withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and pay reparations for all the mayhem and slaughter they have caused. War criminals such as Gen. Petraeus should be put on trial and punished.