Moral Low Ground


NATO Air Strike Kills Afghan Family; Man, Wife & 6 Children Dead in Paktia

Afghan mother and her two children killed in an earlier US strike. (Photo: Pakistan Defense)

Earlier this month, after a pair of air strikes killed 20 innocent Afghan civilians, including a mother and her five children, NATO and the US military issued a joint statement in which Afghans were assured of their “commitment to take any and all appropriate actions to minimize the likelihood” of future civilian casualties.

It is unclear what “appropriate actions” were taken, but less than three weeks later, a NATO air strike has killed an entire family of eight. A father, a mother and their six children were killed Saturday night in the village of Suri Khail, Paktia province, in eastern Afghanistan.

Once again, war-weary Afghans are burying their dead and searching for answers.

“Eight people, a man, his wife and six of their children, are dead,” local government spokesman Rohullah Samoon told Agence France-Presse.

“It was an air strike conducted by NATO. This man had no connection to the Taliban or any other terrorist group,” he added.

“It’s true. A house was bombed by NATO. A man named Mohammad Sahfee, his wife and six of their innocent children were brutally killed,” a senior Afghan security official in Kabul confirmed.

A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), the US-led NATO occupation force, said it was investigating the Afghan claim.

“We acknowledge that coalition forces were conducting an operation in Paktia province against a large number of insurgents last night and we also are aware of the media reports today of civilian casualty allegations in that area,” said Army Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has also launched a probe into the killings, Voice of America reports.

Civilian casualties have been a major cause of tension between the US-led NATO occupation forces and the Afghan government and people. While the vast majority of civilians casualties have been caused by the Taliban and other resistance fighters, Western invasion and occupation have claimed thousands of innocent Afghan lives and locals are especially angered by these deaths because they are caused by foreign invaders. Such deaths have swelled the ranks of anti-occupation resistance fighters and pushed Karzai to declare that “if the lives of Afghans are not protected, the strategic partnership [between his country and the US] will lose its meaning.”

It has been a rough year for that strategic partnership. In January, a video was leaked which showed US Marines urinating on the bodies of dead Afghan resistance fighters. The following month, US troops mistakenly burned Qurans, leading to violence which killed 30 people, including six Americans. In March, US Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales massacred 16 innocent Afghan civilians, including nine women and three children, in Kandahar province. Then came  more photos showing US 82nd Airborne troops posing for photos with body parts of dead resistance fighters and the two air strikes which killed 20 more civilians, and now the Paktia air strike.


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