(YellowTimes.ORG) - A report that came out of Afghanistan yesterday states that U.S. helicopters chased and killed non-combatant Afghan women and children on December 29, much to the dismay of the United Nations.
Britain's The Times reported that the United Nations is concerned by recent reports stating that "non-combatant women and children were chased and killed by U.S. helicopters during an attack on an Afghan village that left 52 dead."
The newspaper said that the U.S. airstrike first took place in the village of Niazi Qala in the Paktia province. This initial strike was said to have killed ten civilian women and 25 children.
UN spokeswoman Stephanie Bunker said that after the women and children were killed in the village, a second group of civilians fled the attack and were gunned down by U.S. helicopters. All fifteen of the fleeing villagers were killed.
A third group of civilians, who were trying to rescue survivors, were also killed by the U.S. military, according to Ms. Bunker.
This latest incident has raised eyebrows not only among the interim Afghan government, but also of Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN envoy who brokered the creation of the new interim government in Afghanistan.
According to Ms. Bunker, Mr. Brahimi is very "concerned at this allegation that civilians were killed in not very clear circumstances."
The official response from the Pentagon on December 29 came from U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Mr. Rumsfeld defended the attack saying the Pentagon had received "multiple intelligence sources" defining the village as a target.
Mr. Rumsfeld said that during the attack there was evidence of ammunition and fuel supplies exploding, insinuating that there were Taliban or al-Qaeda weapons stored in the village.
But Mr. Rumsfeld's statement failed to explain why women and children were reportedly gunned down by U.S. military helicopters.
The new number of civilian casualties can be added to the list of thousands and thousands of dead Afghans because of the Bush administration's military decision making.
According to one comprehensive report released by Professor Mar W. Herold, the number of dead Afghan civilians by U.S. bombs as of December 6, 2001 was 3,767. As of January 5, 2002, this number rose above 4,000.
The Pentagon's cloudy explanation of the accusation echoes past statements, where the Pentagon denied certain attacks ever took place even after many national newspapers confirmed that the Pentagon was wrong.
- Associated article: "Over 3,767 civilians killed by U.S. in Afghanistan; Pentagon misleads"
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