August 9, 2007

Too much Collateral damage

Filed under: Politics/News — 4fooey @ 4:32 pm

In war zones the term ‘Collateral damage’ is used – it’s a horrible term which tends to hide the reality of innocent people getting killed and injured. I read an article in the New York times today which describes the collateral damage being done in Afghanistan, highlighting the brutal tactics used by the Americans – it’s reported here: British Criticize U.S. Air Attacks in Afghan Region (registration required). The Americans tend to use air strikes against the Taliban, rather than trying to combat them at closer quarters – the tactics of using high-powered air strikes are cruel, inflict huge damage and destruction, and in my opinion should be against international law. The onus should be on the allied forces to preserve life at all costs, not inflict so much death and injury to innocent people. These tactics are truning Afghans against the forces in Afghanistan, supposedly there to help that country. Here are some extracts:

“A senior British commander in southern Afghanistan said in recent weeks that he had asked that American Special Forces leave his area of operations because the high level of civilian casualties they had caused was making it difficult to win over local people.”

“[The British] expressed concerns that the Americans’ extensive use of air power was turning the people against the foreign presence as British forces were trying to solidify recent gains against the Taliban.”

“..one reliable count puts the number killed in Helmand this year at close to 300 civilians.”

“In just two cases, airstrikes killed 31 nomads west of Kandahar in November last year and another 57 villagers, half of them women and children, in western Afghanistan in April. In both cases, United States Special Forces were responsible for calling in the airstrikes.”

“On a rare visit to Helmand in mid-July, a journalist encountered children who were still suffering wounds sustained in that bombing raid or another around that time. Their father, Mohammadullah, brought them to the gate of the British Army base seeking help.

His son, Bashir Ahmed, 2, listless and stick thin, seemed close to death. The boy and his sister Muzlifa, 7, bore terrible shrapnel scars. NATO doctors had removed shrapnel from the boy’s abdomen at the time of the raid and had warned his father that he might not survive, but two months later he was still hanging on.

The father said the bombing raid killed six members of the family and wounded five. His wife lost an arm, and the children’s grandmother was killed, he said. ”

The Taliban certainly sound a despicable lot, but it’s not right that the Afghan people should suffer so much at the hands of the foreign forces (the forces are NATO led under American command). There must be better ways of getting rid of the Taliban and making Afghanistan a better place to live, as well as fighting the so-called ‘war on terror’.


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