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imperialism & war

Over 3,767 civilians killed by U.S. in Afghanistan; Pentagon misleads

Wednesday, January 02 @ 09:18:07 EST
(YellowTimes.ORG) - A new report released by Professor Marc W. Herold of University of New Hampshire found that the Bush administration has overseen the killing of at least 3,767 civilians in Afghanistan between the dates of October 7, 2001 and December 6, 2001; an average of 62 civilians killed per day. On a population scale this number is equivalent to 38,000 dead U.S. civilians, or roughly eleven World Trade Center attacks.

The failure of the Pentagon to admit to their actions, along with the frequent statements by mainstream U.S. news sources that civilian death reports could not "be independently verified," inspired Mr. Herold to come up with an in-depth report on the number of dead civilians in Afghanistan using references from news reporters who visited the aftermath of U.S. bombing incidents, eyewitness and survivor accounts, distinguished non-governmental organizations, and news articles published in mainstream reputable national newspapers.

Mr. Herold found that the Pentagon frequently shrouded the truth and even directly lied to the American people.

According to the report, one example of mistruth spewed by the Pentagon was on October 31 when US bombers attacked a Red Crescent hospital in Kandahar.

The Taliban claimed that the Bush administration bombed the hospital killing 11 people inside. The Pentagon quickly stated that the strike missed both the hospital and another Red Crescent building nearby. The Pentagon said that the strike hit "a legitimate target, intentionally struck."

But after journalists reached the site, they saw a large crater in the center of the clinic. A doctor at the hospital reported 15 dead; a number even higher than the Taliban's claim. There is no reasonable explanation for why the Pentagon made this statement unless they were trying to deceive the American people and the rest of the world.

Another chilling example of the Pentagon deceiving the public is the destruction of the village Kama Ado on December 1st at 3 a.m. local time. YellowTimes.ORG reported this incident shortly after it occurred, but Mr. Herold's report gives the specifics.

The reports states: "At 3 a.m., Saturday morning, as part of the intense bombing campaign of Tora Bora, U.S. B-52 bombers made four passes over Kama Ado dropping twenty-five 1,000 pound JDAM MK-83 bombs, each 10 feet long."

The intended target of Tora Bora was a "ten-hour hike" away from the village of Kama Ado. Was this an accident?

In this town alone the Bush administration is responsible for killing about half of the people living there. Once the smoke cleared villagers only found about 40 of the 300 residents alive. Other witness reports say 156 of the 300 residents in Kama Ado were killed by the Pentagon.

One man in Kama Ado only survived because he went outside to urinate when a bomb struck his home. His family was not so lucky; 12 of them died inside the house. Another victim who survived the attack lost 38 of her 40 relatives, the report states.

When British journalist Richard Lloyd Parry visited Kamo Ado after the U.S. attack, he stated that the town had "ceased to exist." Parry reported that many "of the homes here are just deep conical craters in the earth. The rest are cracked open, split like crushed cardboard boxes."

When confronted with the evidence of what happened in Kamo Ado, the Pentagon spokesman stated the exact words of: "It just didn't happen."

The list of atrocities continued to grow longer and longer as the war raged on.

Mr. Herold's report states how on October 11 two jets bombed the village of Karam. The Taliban claimed that 200 civilians were killed. When questioned about the attack, the Pentagon said that it hit a military base and civilians may have been killed, but the Taliban's claim of 200 dead was exaggerated.

The Pentagon refused to name body counts saying that civilian deaths could not be "independently verified."

But after reporters visited the carnage, they found that the Pentagon bombed and killed 100 to 160 civilians. This was confirmed by many news sources including The Guardian, The Independent, International Herald Tribune, The Scotsman, The Observer, and the BBC News.

In the village of Ishaq Sulaiman near Herat, 20 civilians were killed when between 8 and 9 cluster bombs fell on a mosque in the village. This was reported by Agence France Press, Reuters, and the International Herald Tribune. But according to the Pentagon, there was no air strike in that area.

Mr. Herold's report further states how on October 18, the central market place in a district of Kandahar was bombed leaving 47 civilians dead.

Three days later on October 21, a cluster bomb destroyed a military hospital and mosque in Herat killing 100 Afghans.

Two days later, the Pentagon ordered AC-130 gunships to strafe the farming villages of Bori Choker and Chowkar-Karez. They did not stop shooting until 93 civilians were dead.

On November 10 the villages of Shah Aqa were bombed. At least 125 civilians were killed in this incident, but the actual number may be over 300.

Eight days later the Pentagon's tactic of carpet-bombing with B-52's killed at least 150 civilians in one incident.

The total amount of civilians killed from the first day of bombing up until December 6 came to at least 3,767 deaths.

This number is increasing steadily, especially due to the thousands of unexploded cluster bomblets littered all over Afghanistan. As YellowTimes.ORG warned in the early days of the conflict, each cluster bomblet has very destructive capabilities, operating as an effective landmine.

This danger was seen on November 25, when a farmer was killed after accidentally stepping on one of the unexploded CBU-87 bomblets. Two days later, a 12 year-old boy also encountered an unexploded bomblet. He was one of the lucky ones; only his arm was blown to pieces.

Despite pleas from the international community to halt the use of cluster bombs, by November 20 the Bush administration oversaw the deployment of about 600 CBU-87 cluster bombs on Afghanistan. After calculating in the dud rate of the bomb, Herold's report states that about 14,500 unexploded bomblets are waiting in Afghanistan for unsuspecting victims across the countryside and villages.

Why the American people and the Western world have not castigated the Bush administration for killing thousands of Afghan civilians lies in the fear and self-censorship committed by U.S. media agencies.

As the British newspaper The Guardian pointed out, "It's nightmarish to see that the U.S is slowly desensitizing the public to the level of destruction taking place in Afghanistan. They have progressed from medium-sized missiles to Tomahawk and cruise missiles, to bunker-busting 2,000 lb bombs, then to [B-52] carpet-bombing using cluster bombs, and now the devastating daisy cutter bombs that annihilate everything in a 600-meter radius."

When Al Jazeera, a Qatar-based media agency, began showing footage of the Pentagon's bombs killing innocent civilians, a guided bomb destroyed the Kabul office of the news agency; a sign that the Bush administration does not necessarily believe in freedom of speech outside the U.S. borders.

Witness reports in Afghanistan speak for themselves:

"The bombs started falling from the sky," one witness stated. "My husband ran outside to find our son and then he screamed. I ran to the door. He and my son were lying dead. The rest of us left when the fighting had stopped. We just wanted to get away from the bombs and the killing."

Another Afghan civilian believed that the United States must have been intentionally targeting innocent people due to the amount of destruction witnessed. "They're bombing anything that moves," she said. "It's not true that they bomb civilians by accident. They're targeting the innocent people instead of Osama bin Laden."

Another villager explained how in one attack the survivors pulled a "baby out, the others were buried in the rubble. Children were decapitated. There were bodies with no legs. We could do nothing. We just fled."

The only explanation that the Bush administration has uttered regarding casualties is that the Taliban has set up bases and bunkers in urban areas to prevent foreign nations from striking them. Mr. Herold states in the report that this is a falsity.

The report explains how many of the Taliban's military garrisons and facilities are old buildings built by the Soviet-backed government in the previous war. They were built in urban areas for protection against the rural mujahedin. All future governments and rulers of Afghanistan used these same installations. This explains why many Taliban emplacements are located near civilian areas.

But when looking at the magnitude of bombs dropped on Afghanistan, even these claims by the Bush administration and Pentagon are hard to believe.

It is unfortunate that the American people continue to give support to the Bush administration despite them killing nearly 4,000 innocent civilians, using strong-arm tactics to stifle opposition voices seen in the destruction of the Al Jazeera media office, using irresponsible weapons that have left thousands of landmines around civilian areas, and lying and misleading the American people.

In the words of Mr. Herold, "It is simply unacceptable for civilians to be slaughtered as a side-effect of an intentional strike against a specified target. There is no difference between the attacks upon the World Trade Center whose primary goal was the destruction of a symbol, and the U.S-U.K revenge coalition bombing of military targets located in populated urban areas. Both are criminal. Slaughter is slaughter. Killing civilians even if unintentional is criminal."

The full report can be found at the following link: www.cursor.org/stories/civilian_deaths.htm

Christopher Reilly encourages your comments:  creilly@YellowTimes.ORG