A crowd of about 300 villagers blocked a main road in eastern Afghanistan Aug. 12 and chanted “Death to the US!” The protest came after a raid by US forces in which they said three innocent villagers were killed at Zarin Khil, Sayed Abad district, Wardak province. Village elders said US troops stormed into a family’s house and shot three brothers—all young men—and then took their father into custody. Local police are said to be investigating the allegations. NATO forces rejected the claim, saying those killed in the overnight raid were “suspected insurgents”, and that a local Taliban commander was detained.
And while NATO has reduced the civilian deaths it causes in recent months, the toll continues to be high. In the first six months of this year, 386 civilian were killed by NATO or Afghan government forces—41 during search and seizure operations such as night raids, according to a UN report. The Taliban has issued a statement decrying the UN report, which said insurgent groups were responsible for 76% of civilian deaths and injuries in the first half of the year. The UN “plays a major role as a propaganda organisation for the American imperialism and keeps covering up the blatant crimes of the Pentagon,” the Taliban statement said. (Wales Online, Aug. 12)
See our last post on civilian casualties in Afghanistan.