Socialist Worker

US massacres 207 civilians

Issue No. 1781

US BOMBS, missiles and cannon fire slaughtered at least 207 Afghan people in the village of Niazi Qalaye in Afghanistan last Sunday. Villager Janat Gul was distraught after the US bombs killed 24 members of his family. 'People are very upset,' he said. 'There are no Al Qaida or Taliban people here.'

Many of the dead and wounded were women and children who were murdered as they slept in their beds. Some were blown to pieces. One Western cameraman saw scraps of flesh, pools of blood and clumps of human hair.

This bombing of innocent civilians is what George Bush meant when he said before Christmas that the US 'was going to be here for a while', and that the US wouldn't leave Afghanistan 'until this mission is complete'.

The bombing exposes the reality of the 'liberation' of Afghanistan that Bush and Tony Blair boast about. The continuing US attacks have even opened up tensions between the US and some of the Afghan government ministers it helped to install. One Afghan defence official said, 'We fear that yet again our American friends have also killed a lot of innocent people.'

Last Sunday's attack came eight days after US gunships and jets dropped bombs on a convoy of cars, killing around 60 people. The convoy included anti-Taliban clerics and tribal elders who were travelling to the inauguration of the country's new leader through the eastern province of Paktia. The cars were riddled with bullets and shrapnel.

The US bombardment lasted seven hours, and also blasted ten houses and a mosque in a nearby village.

One 65 year old survivor, Yaqub Khan Tanaiwal, said, 'The bombing was so intense that only the lucky ones could escape.' The US military tried to excuse the slaughter, claiming they were given 'intelligence' that Al Qaida members were on the convoy. US General Tommy Franks said, 'It was a good target.'

But as villager Khodai Noor reported, 'There are no members of Al Qaida or supporters of Bin Laden here.' The villagers say the source for the US 'intelligence' came from a local Paktia warlord who had a score to settle with some of the elders travelling in the convoy.

Villagers say he deliberately misinformed the US military, knowing they would use the slightest excuse to bomb the target. US bombers hit another area south west of Kabul near the town of Ghazni on Thursday of last week. Again, the US military claimed there were 'very good indications' that Taliban members were there.

But a witness from one of the targeted villages said local residents were killed while they slept. George Bush admitted at the end of December that the US did not know where the Al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden was.

Yet this has not stopped Bush ordering US bombers to keep on pounding Afghanistan and killing many thousands of civilians. 'The bombing was so intense, only the lucky ones survived'

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Article information

Sat 5 Jan 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1781
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