Socialist Worker

Nato is bombing and killing civilians in Afghanistan

Issue No. 2062

Occupation forces in Afghanistan have admitted that they are regularly killing civilians in bombings raids when they say are targetting Taliban fighters.

According to Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission, over 270 civilians have been killed by Nato forces, which run the occupation, so far this year.

In the latest attack over 20 civilians were killed in an artillary barrage.

The rising toll of civilian deaths has forced occupation forces to rein in the number of attacks on villages.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffe, Nato’s secretary general, has blamed the deaths of civilians on the Afghan resistance.

He has now said that occupation forces will use smaller bombs in an effort to avoid civilian casualties.

War planes regularly drop 500 pound bombs on villages. The new order will mean that only 250 pound bombs will be used.

The change is supposed to protect civilians.

Yet any attack on villages where the homes are built out of mud and bricks will hurt ordinary people.

Last month, the US-backed Afghan president Hamid Karzai accused Nato of killing 90 civilians in air strikes and artillery fire.

Over 20 civilians were killed in the bombing raids of two districts in Helmand province in the south of the country in the most recent attacks.

The district chief of Girishk told the Reuters new agency that when Nato troops attacked, “Civilians began to flee and 27 or 28 of them were killed.”

A Nato commander justified the random killings.

He said that, “Because the Taliban don’t wear uniforms like us, as soon as they are killed, they are called civilians. The key is, are they male or female? If they are male, what age are they?”

Meanwhile the number of British troops being killed every month in Afghanistan has reached a similar level to those dying in Iraq.

The latest death of a British marine brings the total number of those killed to 68 since the occupation began.

Ten British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in the last two months. Fourteen soldiers have died in Iraq over the same period.

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Tue 31 Jul 2007, 18:49 BST
Issue No. 2062
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