Afgahanistan: civilian deaths mar Operation Moshtarak

Two NATO rockets aimed at Taliban insurgents in Helmand province missed their target Feb. 14, killing 12 civilians sheltering in their home. The incident occurred in Nad Ali, where British troops are operating. A UK Ministry of Defence representative said the rockets were a “US responsibility.” The new anti-Taliban offensive Operation Moshtarak (meaning “together” in the Dari language) involves 15,000 troops, mostly US, British and Afghan, targeting the areas of Nad Ali and Marjah. (The Guardian, AOL News, BBC News, Feb. 14)

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  1. Taliban destroy US tanks?
    The Unjust Media website includes numerous reports of successful attacks against US and NATO forces by the “Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” including boasts of some 20 tanks “destroyed” in recent days.

  2. Malalai Joya on Operation Moshtarak
    Malalai Joya had this to say about Operation Moshtarak in The Independent, Feb. 15:

    “It is ridiculous,” said Malalai Joya, an elected member of the Afghan parliament. “On the one hand they call on Mullah Omar to join the puppet regime. On another hand they launch this attack in which defenceless and poor people will be the prime victims. Like before, they will be killed in the Nato bombings and used as human shields by the Taliban. Helmand’s people have suffered for years and thousands of innocent people have been killed so far.”

    …Dismissing Allied claims that NATO forces won’t abandon Afghan civilians after the surge, she said: “They have launched such offensives a number of times in the past, but each time after clearing the area, they leave it and [the] Taliban retake it. This is just a military manoeuvre and removal of Taliban is not the prime objective.”

  3. Afghanistan: NATO wipes out more civlians
    At least 27 civilians died in a NATO air-strike in southern Afghanistan, the Afghan cabinet said Feb. 22. NATO said it hit a suspected insurgent convoy, but ground forces later found “a number of individuals killed and wounded,” including women and children. The attack, in Uruzgan province, was not part of a major NATO-led push in neighboring Helmand province. (BBC News, Feb. 22)