Afghanistan: Hekmatyar, US air strikes kill civilians

A suicide car bomber Nov. 27 detonated his payload near two armored vehicles used by US-led coalition troops in Kabul, killing at least two civilians and destroying the wall of a nearby house. The Hezb-i-Islami claimed responsibility for the attack. (AP, Nov. 27) (Hezb-i-Islami is led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of the primary beneficiaries of US aid in the 1980s.) That same day, US air-strikes killed 12 civilian road workers, the governor of Nuristan province charged. “So far we know that 12 people have been killed by US bombardment,” Gov. Tameem Nuristani told Reuters. “They were only poor and innocent road construction workers.” The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed there had been fighting in the area, but said no air-strikes had been launched. BBC reported the workers were building a road for the US military under a local contractor. (Reuters, BBC World Service, Nov. 28)

Reports of US air strikes on civilians are growing in Afghanistan. Our last post on Afghanistan noted the militarization of remote and once-isolated Nuristan.