Socialist Worker

Brutal occupation brings rising death tolls in Iraq and Afghanistan

by Simon Assaf
Issue No. 2058

In Iraq and Afghanistan the bloody toll is still rising as the daily brutality and terror of war and occupation continues.

In Iraq, the devastation of George Bush's 'surge' of troops in Iraq has led to hundreds of civilians being killed in air raids and sieges of Sunni Muslim neighbourhoods.

Last month the US military and its Iraqi allies descended on the city of Baquba, north of the capital Baghdad, in an operation they claimed would 'crush Al Qaida'.

Tens of thousands of troops surrounded the city trapping 300,000 civilians.

US troops then stormed neighbourhoods, arresting people and gunning down anyone who resisted them.

By the end of last week the US military campaign fizzled out, but not before 70 percent of their 'targets' had fled.

The city is now counting its dead.

According to the Iraqi Islamic Party – a Sunni Muslim bloc that is part of the US-backed government – US troops 'fired on neighbourhoods with helicopters, destroying more than 150 houses and killing more than 350 people. Bodies are still under the wreckage. Troops have also arrested scores of citizens.'

The Association of Muslim Scholars reported that on Sunday 17 June, US forces 'blasted Baquba's Abdallah ibn al-Mubarak mosque, destroying the house of worship along with a number of houses in the area. The US attack killed five civilians, two of them women.'

By Tuesday of this week residents in the besieged city made urgent appeals for humanitarian aid. The Muslim Scholars warned that 'there are dead still buried under rubble following three days of continuous US bombardments'.

They described the impact of the assault saying, 'The back yards of houses have been turned into graveyards.

'The area has also been continuously without water and electricity since the Americans began their offensive in the area, which began three days ago, leaving dozens of dead, including women, children, and the elderly.'

As US troops laid siege to Baquba, occupation forces cut water and electricity to the Baghdad neighbourhood of Azamiyah. The mainly Sunni neighbourhood has been cut off by a 'security wall'. People trapped in the neighbourhood have been forced to drink polluted water from the Tigris river.

The US has also been targeting Shia Muslim areas.

On Monday of this week warplanes dropped 500-pound bombs on Diwaniyah in Iraq's Qadisiya province.

According to local police ten civilians were killed, including women and children, 25 people were wounded and six homes destroyed.

In Afghanistan, the destruction and bloodshed of occupation also continues.

An Afghan human rights group has accused the US and Nato of killing more civilians than the Taliban in a series of air raids on villages across the country.

Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission – which is affiliated to the government – said that up to 100 civilians were killed in the latest airstrike in the south of the country. Now even Hamid Karzai, the US-installed president, has joined in the condemnation of occupation troops.

The rising death toll of the occupation has lead to a series of protests across the country.

As Western troops struggle to control a rising tide of resistance to their occupation, US troops will extend the war into northern Pakistan as part of its 'hot pursuit'.

This extension of the war is a dangerous escalation, threatening to draw Pakistan into the war.

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Article information

Tue 3 Jul 2007, 18:28 BST
Issue No. 2058
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