Moral Low Ground


NATO Air Strike Kills At Least 15 Afghan Civilians in Logar; At Least 23 More Die in Taliban Suicide Attack in Kandahar

Victims of a February NATO air strike that killed 8 children in Kapisa.

It was a very deadly Wednesday for Afghan civilians. At least 15 people died in a NATO air strike in Logar province south of Kabul, and at least 23 more perished in a double suicide bombing in Kandahar province in the south.

Agence France-Presse reports that NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) claimed that “multiple insurgents” were killed in the “precision” air strike, which was carried out following an attack on alliance troops by Afghan resistance fighters.

But deputy provincial chief Rais Khan Sadeq Abdulrahimzai told AFP that “18 civilians, including women and children, are dead” along with seven Taliban fighters. Provincial government spokesman Din Mohammad Darvish said that “around 15 civilians are dead” as a result of the air strike, which occurred early Wednesday morning.

An AFP reporter personally witnessed at least 15 bodies, among them four children. One of them was an infant and the oldest was around 10.

ISAF claims that a post-attack evaluation turned up two injured women.

“While conducting a follow-on assessment, the security force discovered two women who had sustained non-life-threatening injuries,” an ISAF statement said.

“The security force provided medical assistance and transported both women to an ISAF medical facility for treatment.”

“As a result of the operation, multiple insurgents were killed and the Afghan and coalition security force seized several weapons and a quantity of explosives.”

But with the recent revelation that the Obama administration has embraced a controversial method of counting civilian casualties in which all military-age males in a strike zone are considered ‘militants,’ a deceptive attempt to lower innocent body counts, claims from US officials or even NATO about insurgent deaths are regarded with a high degree of skepticism by many Afghans.

In recent months, NATO air strikes have killed dozens of innocent Afghans. In February, an attack in Kapisa killed eight children and a mentally-disabled adult. In early May, a pair of strikes killed as many as 20 civilians in Sangin district and Bala Murghab. Among the dead in the Sangin attack were a mother and her five children. Later in May, another air strike, this time in Paktia, killed a man, his wife and their six children.

Despite all these NATO-inflicted civilian deaths, the fact remains that the majority of innocent Afghans are killed by the Taliban. That fact was underscored when a pair of bombs were detonated by a suicide attacker on a motorcycle near a large military base in Kandahar province on Wednesday that killed at least 23 people.

According to the New York Times, the bombs targeted a small market and hotel. Another 22 people were injured in the attacks, some of them seriously.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi has claimed responsibility for the bombing.


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