Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

US continues to make friends in Afghanistan

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My jaw dropped. Reported in the Washington Post by Joshua Partlow:

KABUL – To the shock of President Hamid Karzai’s aides, Gen. David Petraeus on Sunday suggested that Afghans caught up in a coalition attack in northeastern Afghanistan might have burned their own children to exaggerate claims of civilian casualties, according to two participants at the meeting.

Petraeus’s exact language in the closed-door session at the presidential palace is not known, nor the precise message he meant to convey. But his remarks about the deadly U.S. military operation in Konar province were interpreted as deeply offensive by some in the room. They spoke on condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.

They said he dismissed allegations by Karzai’s office and the provincial governor that civilians were killed, and said residents invented stories, or even injured their children, to blame U.S. forces for targeting civilians and to stop the operation.

“I was dizzy. My head was spinning,” said one participant about listening to Petraeus. “This was shocking. Would any father do this to his children? This is really absurd.”

Petraeus, through a spokesman, declined to comment.

U.S. and Afghan officials have started to investigate what happened during a three- to four-day operation in the mountains of Ghaziabad district, one of the most dangerous and inhospitable parts of Afghanistan. U.S. military officials said there is no evidence innocent civilians died. The governor of Konar, Fazlullah Wahidi, disagreed, citing reports from villagers that dozens of women and children perished. Karzai’s office placed the civilian death toll at 50 . . .

Continue reading. The military’s record on reporting civilian deaths is extremely clear: the military will immediately and officially say that all deaths were armed insurgents or terrorists or whatever, and then if an independent investigation determines that there were in fact civilian casualties (and occasionally all those killed were civilians, as in the case of the wedding party), the military accepts the findings, expresses regret, and promises to make changes. And so it goes on and on.

But this is a new low.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 February 2011 at 3:12 pm

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