Sunday, April 7, 2013

Violence greets General Dempsey's Afghan visit with 11 children and American troops killed


The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Dempsey arrived for a visit aimed at assessing the training of Afghan security forces. Several incidents have been reported one involving Americans and the other children, victims of a NATO air strike.
Dempsey no doubt wants to assess the progress made in training Afghan forces to take over security when the main combat troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan at the end of 2014.
In one attack, a suicide bomber, detonated a car bomb just as an American convoy passed that was accompanying the provincial governor of Zabul. Three US troops were killed as well as two US civilians and an Afghan doctor who was accompanying the governor. Several Americans and Afghans were wounded including two of the governors' bodyguards.
Meanwhile in Shigal district in Kunar province on the Pakistan border, local officials in the region report that eleven children and a woman were killed in an air strike during a NATO operation that targeted Taliban commanders in the area.
The civilian deaths were confirmed by Wasefullah Wasefi a spokesperson for the provincial governor. He said that eleven children and a woman were killed in the air strike. The Interior Ministry did not mention any civilian casualties. A Reuters journalist also reports seeing the bodies of the 12 children. Such overwhelming evidence of the deaths will make denial difficult.
A Shigal district chief said the women and children were killed when houses collapsed on them. As usual the ISAF officials said only that they were aware of the reports of civilian casualties and were investigating them. Karzai has constantly criticized NATO air attacks of this type and has banned Afghans from calling in air support in these situations. An ISAF spokesperson Captain Luca Carniel said that ISAF provided "air support" and that the air support had been called in by coalition forces not Afghans. So to get around the ban on calling in air support the boss just issues the order not the Afghans.
The provincial governor's spokesperson also said that a US adviser to the Afghan intelligence agency was also killed during the attack that lasted several hours. There were two important Taliban commanders also reported killed. The civilian deaths will simply further exacerbate the anti-US sentiments in the area and help the Taliban recruit more Afghans to their cause.

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