[Another] US airstrike kills 10 Afghan civilians

Afghan Civilians Said to Be Killed in an Airstrike

KABUL, Afghanistan — Ten civilians, including at least five women and children, were killed in NATO airstrikes in Khost Province, the provincial police chief said Saturday. Five other civilians were killed, as were two Afghan National Army soldiers and two police officials, in other violence around the country on Saturday.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said in a statement that it had carried out precision airstrikes against a large number of armed insurgents from the Haqqani network, Taliban allies operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“We are aware of conflicting reports of civilian casualties from local officials and are therefore reviewing the operational details of the engagement,” the force said in a statement. “Our mission is to protect the population and we will accept full responsibility if civilians were unintentionally harmed in the intense fight against the insurgents.”

Coalition forces claimed to have killed at least 17 Taliban insurgents in six operations throughout the country, including a Taliban subcommander, Mullah Abdul Razaq. The International Security Assistance Force said Mr. Razaq was suspected of involvement in a roadside bombing that killed two American soldiers in northern Kunduz Province on Wednesday. ISAF said Mr. Razaq and “a number of insurgents” were killed on a raid on their compound in the Chahar Darah District.

Thirteen of the Taliban fighters were killed in two airstrikes in the Zadran Valley, in eastern Paktika Province, according to a spokesman for the Paktika governor’s office. Only one was an Afghan, he said; the others were Pakistani or Arab insurgents.

The United States Embassy here said Saturday that the company once known as Blackwater Worldwide has been awarded a contract worth more than $120 million to protect new United States consulates in the Afghan cities of Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif, The Associated Press reported.

The United States Training Center, a business unit of the former Blackwater, which is now called Xe Services, won the contract on Friday over two other American companies, Triple Canopy and DynCorps International, an embassy spokeswoman, Caitlin Hayden, said, according to The A.P. The one-year contract can be extended twice for three months each for a maximum of 18 months, she said.

Under the name Blackwater, the company, based in North Carolina, provided guards and services to the United States government in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, but was sharply criticized for its heavy-handed tactics in those missions.

In April, five former Blackwater executives, including a past president, were indicted on federal weapons charges. Separately, the Justice Department has opened an inquiry into whether Blackwater officials sought to bribe Iraqi government officials to continue to operate in Iraq, after a 2007 shooting involving Blackwater guards in which 17 Iraqi civilians were killed. The Justice Department is also appealing a decision last year to dismiss manslaughter charges that had been brought against five of the guards.

\\NEW YORK TIMES

Posted in Afghanistan, Attacks on Civilians, NATO
One comment on “[Another] US airstrike kills 10 Afghan civilians
  1. Dr. O. P. Sudrania says:

    Sohail,
    Your article is a verbatim reproduction of the NYT report published. I appreciate the concern. But not being a expert on such war casualties as an acceptable collateral damage, I find it difficult to comment. It would have been better to add some more information for the common people to know the same. Afghanistan is an
    active ongoing war field in collaboration with official local institutions of both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Now, please do not get me wrong. But it is a fact for the
    rght or wrong reasons is a different matter. US being a common agent, the Afghan and Pakistan civil governments as on today are on loggerfeads. Afghans are fighting for their existence, while Pakistan is fighting for locoregional domination. US is acting as big brother. Who is doing right is a matter of conjecture.

    Unlike the olden days as I remember from my school days, the rules in ancient India
    for fighting the wars strictly stringent. But all those times are gone. The ethics and standards have been rewritten in the modern context. The guerrilla warfare so venerated today was a one time despicable
    war technique.

    I hope I have not hurt your personal feelings in anyway.

    God bless
    Dr. O. P. Sudrania

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