Bombs, Missiles and Mud Huts

Revolutionary Worker #1141, March 3, 2002, posted at

Some of the war crimes against the Afghan people that have come to light:

Karam in Nangahar Province, October 11--Survivors report U.S. bombs killed between 50 and 100 of their neighbors and families--demolishing the village of mud huts. Donald Rumsfeld said the reports were "ridiculous."

Thoral, October 21--Villagers described to a Washington Post reporter that first a U.S. missile cut through a trailer containing 27 villagers--mostly children--who had just fled a bomb attack on a nearby town. Many of the children were ripped apart by the bomb. Then, half-an-hour later, after the injured and dead had been gathered in a house, two missiles struck that home too. Local witnesses told Moore that 21 members of two farming families--all but four were infants or children--were killed in the attacks. The Pentagon insists that all its bombs hit their targets, and that this was a Taliban command center.

Chowkar-Karez, October 22--"When the bombs came, I lost 19 of my relatives," Shamsullah says. The village is now deserted, the rubble still shows shreds of clothes and pieces of hair. The village had no military presence, and was 15 miles from the nearest electrical lines. A 2 a.m. attack killed dozens of people-- 45 according to Shamsullah, 39 according to a local official. Many of the dead were children hiding in irrigation ditches. A local Muslim shrine was destroyed. "I haven't gone back to the village. I think if I went I would get very, very angry,'' said Ahmad from the Kandahar machine tool shop where he works. "All my family has died.''

The Pentagon confirmed it bombed Chukar Kariz on Oct. 22; it has made no admission of error. It was a confirmed Taliban and Al Qaeda base, said Lieutenant Colonel Martin Compton, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command.

Ishaq Suleiman, Nov. 1--When the bombing began in this village of mud huts, Ghulam Nabi said he ran through the smoke trying to find his 12-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter. "I saw a body in front of me. I went up to it but there was smoke, dust, and it was dark. I went closer and I touched the face and I saw it was a man with a gray beard,'' he said. "I was running like a madman. Then I saw my wife running toward me. When I got to her, she told me our son and daughter were wounded and they were in another village.'' The bombing continued, off and on, for almost two weeks. According to a German relief organization 12 people were killed and 14 wounded. Pentagon spokesman Compton, asked about the attacks, said that even in villages, the trucks and equipment are "authorized military targets.''

Khakriz, Nov. 8, 9, 10--This village is in breathtaking mountains north of Kandahar. After a Taliban convoy passed through the town, U.S. officials considered the town a gathering point for Taliban and bombed it day after day. No fighters were ever killed. Instead the names of 70 dead were gathered by the survivors. Villagers said that after days of bombing, on Nov. 10, antiaircraft guns shot at U.S. warplanes from the mountainsides a half mile outside their village. Within minutes, U.S. bombs and cruise missiles flattened everything around the town center--more than two dozen homes, shops and a Sufi shrine. Villagers said they ran south into the desert, not daring to return until days later. "We spent the whole next day collecting parts of bodies,'' said Baran, a hotel owner who--like many Afghans--uses one name. "We saw heads, feet, everything." Among the dead were a shopkeeper, a driver, two bakers, a farmer and his family, several unemployed men and their families, more than two dozen visitors, and 19 relatives living in the house of Aji Shah Mohammed, a wealthy businessman, villagers said.

Sanjiri, November 29--It was the twelfth night of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in a village nine miles west of Kandahar. The first bombs killed two people asleep in their homes. The planes returned and bombed again. Saddiq survived, but his wife, daughter, son, daughter-in-law, nephew and five grandchildren, ranging in age from 10 years old to 2 months, did not. "We don't know why this happened," said Saddiq's son, Mohammed.

Khazi Kariz, December 1--The planes attacked this village near the Kandahar airport. First, the bombs hit Faizal Mohammed's house, according to his neighbors, killing him, his wife, two daughters and a son. A third daughter survived.

"I came and I pulled them out," said a neighbor, Wali Jan. The son died on the way to the hospital; the others were already dead. Villagers say one of their neighbors had been driving his ancient turquoise Russian truck, using it as a village taxi. The six homes surrounding the parked truck were flattened and ten people were killed, including five sons of the truck's owner. Since then the nearby airport has become the main Marine base in southern Afghanistan. As villagers told their story to reporters, four U.S. Humvees drove up armed with heavy machine guns.

Qalaye Niazi, December 29--A U.S. bombing raid on this village outside Gardez killed at least 52 civilians, including 25 children, according to the UN, and over 100 villagers according to some of the local survivors. Many of the people killed were families gathered for a wedding.

Kanadahar Hospital, January 28--Six wounded non-Afghan fighters in Kandahar hospital were killed in a massacre carried out by U.S. Special Forces and allied Afghan militia. The patients, all of them under 25, had barricaded themselves in part of the hospital, armed with a pistol and some grenades. They believed (with good reason) that U.S.-led forces were executing non-Afghan fighters that fell into their hands. In fact, there is some evidence that four of these men were, in fact, executed after being captured. A Washington Post article notes: "Many local Afghans had previously expressed sympathy for the barricaded Arabs, and there was widespread public opposition to the decision to stop providing them with food."

Kabul, February 16--British troops occupying the Afghan capital opened fire on a taxi taking a pregnant Afghan woman to the hospital. One man died.

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