9 August 2010. A World to Win News Service. In the article "The WikiLeaks and what they reveal" in the AWTWNS news packet for 2 August 2010, we referred to "30-70" civilian deaths in the Nato bombing of a crowd of people seeking to fill their jerry cans from two fuel tankers stuck in a riverbed in the northern province of Kunduz in September 2009.
This was meant to expose the self-serving lies in the U.S. military internal report on this incident released by the WikiLeaks organisation. Immediately after these killings, Nato denied that any civilians had died, and this was what was said in the document.
The casualty figures we gave were based on reports filed by Western journalists who investigated at the scene. Afghan sources at that time put the figure much higher. Now almost a year later, Germany has announced that it will pay compensation to the families of 91 people killed and 11 wounded by the airstrike called in by a German commander operating as part of Nato. This casualty figure was reached by an "independent local mediator" who identified these victims and concluded that about 140 people were killed in all. (BBC, The New York Times, 7 August 2010).
Meanwhile, local Afghan authorities said that a Nato airstrike on a house in Nangarhar province killed 32 people on 5 August. Occupation officials at first denied there were any civilian casualties, but later were forced to admit a few such deaths.
Fresh reports continue to surface about events in Sangin district of Helmand province 26 July, when U.S. Marines fired a missile at a house from which they said they had been shot at. Yet again Nato and U.S. officials initially denied that any civilians were killed. Now an unidentified "senior intelligence official for the international forces" has tried to justify the killings by explaining that "Taliban fighters" had been firing from the roof of the building. He acknowledged that the American soldiers knew that people had taken refuge inside and were trapped by the fighting. He stressed that "The Marines were unbelievable in the length of time they waited to return fire", waiting more than four hours before deciding to fire the shoulder-fired Javelin rocket that killed 52 ordinary people inside, according to local reports. (NYT 7 August).
The American explanation amounts to a guilty plea on two counts, once because the official says the occupation soldiers knowingly decided that civilian families were expendable, and secondly because like his soldiers he cannot even conceive that there is anything wrong with this. If Afghanistan must be occupied at all costs – or at least at any cost to Afghanis, then isn't this the logic of a war for empire?