Revolution #164, May 17, 2009

Afghanistan: The MASSACRE and The LIES

A small village in Afghanistan. People are working in the fields. Women are home preparing the evening meal. Children are playing. Nearby, fighting breaks out between Taliban militia and the U.S. backed Afghan military. Women and children flee to what they hope is a safe area a distance away. The fighting ends and the combatants leave the area. For a while it seems safe. Then over the horizon a squadron of U.S. warplanes appears. The planes’ bellies, full of bombs, open up. A storm of death comes raining down.

This is life and death under U.S. occupation. This is what happened on May 4, 2009 in the villages of Shiwan and Granai, in Farah province in western Afghanistan.

Muhammad Jan, a farmer, told the New York Times (May 6), “Six houses were bombed and destroyed completely, and people in the houses still remain under the rubble, and now I am working with other villagers trying to excavate the dead bodies.” Villagers, crazed with grief, collected mangled bodies in blankets and shawls and piled them on tractors. Another villager; Sayed Ghusuldin Agha, described body parts littered around the landscape. “It would scare a man if he saw it in a dream.”

On May 7 a delegation from Kabul visited the area; the head of the Afghan Task Force investigating the deaths told Xinhua Press Agency all the houses in the village had been completely destroyed. “The list prepared of those killed in air strikes [there] contains the names of 147 people, mostly women and children.”

One legislator, Mohammad Naim Farahi reported: “The governor [of the affected province] said that the villagers have brought two tractor trailers full of pieces of human bodies to his office to prove the casualties that had occurred.” Farahi said he had talked to someone he knew personally who had counted 113 bodies being buried, including those of many women and children.

As reports of the carnage hit the news, the U.S.-puppet leader of Afghanistan, President Karzai, was meeting with Obama at the White House. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed “deep regret” over the deaths caused by the U.S. air strike. After multiple reports from villagers, the Red Cross and Afghan government officials confirmed that the U.S. was responsible for this attack. But U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the senior American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David D. McKiernan, claimed the U.S. was not to blame, implying that the deaths were caused by Taliban hurling grenades.

Villagers noted that the bomb damage was so extensive that it could not have been caused by grenades. “Taliban have no strong weapon to bring these kinds of casualties. The Taliban did not throw grenades into civilians’ houses.”

On May 7, after Afghan residents angrily protested the casualties and demanded that U.S. forces leave the country, an unnamed Pentagon official finally acknowledged that “at least some of the casualties were caused by the airstrikes” and that initial American military reports that some of the casualties might have been caused by Taliban grenades, not American airstrikes, were “thinly sourced.”

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