Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Afghans increasingly critical of U.S. operations

As the Taliban gains momentum and civilian causalities continue to rise, many Afghans do not see benefits to U.S. troops on the ground, BBC News reported today. In recent air raids, 57 Afghans, half of whom were women and children, were killed by U.S. bombs. “The bombardments were going on day and night,” said Mohammad Zarif Achakzai, whose house was destroyed by the raid. “Those who tried to get out somewhere safe were being bombed. They didn't care if it was women, children or old men.”

The anger and frustration from the bombing is only exacerbated by a lack of compassion and understanding of local customs by U.S. troops. “Americans came to the village without consulting any elders,” Achakzai’s wife Khwara explained. “They just came into to the women’s part of the house, so we women went to the elders, and we told them if you don't stop this, we women will stand against them.”

“It is taboo to enter houses uninvited, even more so to enter the women’s room, an act that can call the honor of the house into question. “It makes those men – who are very, very conservative – very upset and very angry, and they would be ready to do whatever they can do to stop it or to prevent it or to regain their honor that was lost,” said Nader Naderi, the commissioner of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC).

Other Afghans have come to the point of comparing Russian occupation with the current U.S. fight against the Taliban. Baryaly Noorzai, who was injured by the bombing said, “When the Americans came the people started fighting them back, and then the planes came and started bombing us. “Even under the Russians we haven't witnessed bombardments like it before.”

While the AIHRC documented at least 25 women and children killed in Shindad, U.S. Brigadier General Joseph Votel denies such reports, claiming just cause for the use of 2,000 pound bombs on mud houses.

For the full article, click here.

For more information on the AIHRC, click here.



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