General McChrystal is in the middle of a “listening tour” of Afghanistan – hoping to uncover some new strategy before he’s due to provide President Obama with the fifth Afghan policy review in just 6 months. Of course, we’re not letting the lack of strategy stop the new Afghan “surge” which now includes the transfer of the US Marines who attacked Fallujah.
Along with “listening” McChrystal is once again announcing that there will be changes in how US forces operate in Afghanistan in response to the increasing civilian casualties caused by US air strikes and raids. Yet we have heard the same promises and pledges month after month from a variety of US commanders – and Afghans continue to die in attacks which are always denied and then later labeled as “mistakes.” And no one in the US military ever faces disciplinary actions for those “mistakes.” Instead, actions are covered up, reports hidden and access to evidence blocked.
For all the tale, the civilian casualties continue:
June 11 – A US-led air strike has killed 22 people, including 10 civilians in the central Ghor province, officials said…
A day earlier, US forces in statement said a prominent militant commander, Mullah Mustafa, and 16 other insurgents were killed in the bombing.
Later, Mullah Mustafa in a phone interview told Quqnoos that he is “not harmed in the incident”.
Mullah Mustafa, who was termed by the US forces, a commander of some 100 men in the central province of Ghor, told Quqnoos that he had “never been in the opposition to the [Afghan] government”… Mullah Mustafa said his six-year old son and his ten-year old brother were killed in the air strike.
Mustafa warns that such bombings that target non-combatants will drive the support of the people towards the militants.
June 21 – Three women were killed and another eleven civilian injured in a clash between NATO and armed Taliban the other day in Pech Valley of Manogai district in Kunar Province…
Wahidi said that during the clash some of the bullets were fired in a populated area on people’s homes, as a result of which 3 women were killed and 11 others, including 6 children, were injured…
Basir, one of the residents of Kanda Gul, told PAN that during the clash, mortar shells fired by NATO forces hit Malang and Aziz-ul-Rahman’s homes and the mentioned casualties had occurred.
If the US command was serious about avoiding causing civilian casualties on the scale they did in Iraq, we would be seeing some clear disciplinary actions against the forces and commanders who cause them. Until then, it’s all just spin.