Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Afghans viewing civilian deaths as contradiction to U.S./NATO mission

Reuters reports today on the growing concern over increased civilian deaths amidst the continued U.S. and NATO air strikes aimed at Taliban fighters. Analysts are worried that continued civilian deaths will aid in the Taliban’s recruitment of additional fighters. Earlier this month, air strikes killed at least 50 villagers in the Shindand district of Herat province.

Nader Nadery, an Afghan human rights campaigner, noted the growing concerns over the air strikes and increased questions as to why more ground operations are not being conducted; something that is seen as remedying the problem of civilian causalities.

“Civilian deaths have strengthened the Taliban,” said Waheed Mozhdah, a political and military analyst who previously served as an official in the Taliban government. “We had people fleeing their villages for neighboring countries because of the bombings during the occupation by the Russians. That provided basically a good ground for the recruitment of mujahideen.”

“There are dozens of combat actions that are successful and do not produce civilian casualties,” said Ronald E. Neumann, until recently the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

As calls for President Hamid Karzai to resign grow, President Bush and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said that reductions in civilian deaths would be made a priority; however, blame was also placed on the Taliban for the use of human shields.

For the full article, click here.



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