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AP Now Notes Afghans Lie About Civilians

From a suddenly tune-changing Associated Press:

Afghan villagers shout slogans against the U.S. and Afghan government during a demonstration following a U.S. operation on their village, in Mehterlam, capital of Laghman province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009.

US, Afghan villagers differ over 15 killed in raid

By JASON STRAZIUSO and RAHIM FAIEZ, Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan – The American coalition in Afghanistan opened a joint U.S.-Afghan investigation Saturday into an overnight raid that American commanders say killed 15 armed militants but that two Afghan officials say killed 11 civilians…

A detailed U.S. statement said multiple teams of militants fired on the coalition forces early Saturday during a raid against a Taliban commander in the eastern province of Laghman. The U.S. said a woman carrying a rocket-propelled grenade was among the 15 killed.

"We know the people who were killed were shooting at us," said Col. Greg Julian, the top U.S. spokesman in Afghanistan. "The people who were killed today were running around, maneuvering against our forces, and we killed them."

However, Sayed Ahmad Safi, the spokesman for Laghman’s governor, said that government intelligence reports indicated 11 of the dead were civilians, including three children and two females. Two of the dead were militants, he said…

Julian said he had no doubts about the U.S. version of the battle, but said a joint U.S.-Afghan investigation had been launched to put the reports of civilian deaths to rest…

The issue also sparks strong emotions among average Afghans and threatens to turn civilians against the international military mission.

"I’m ready to start jihad against the Americans," an unidentified Afghan man told a Kabul TV station during a protest Saturday in the capital of Laghman.

Earlier Saturday, Hamididan Abdul Rahmzai, the head of the provincial council in Laghman, said village elders arrived at his office hours after the early morning operation to complain that the 15 killed were innocent civilians.

During a call from an Associated Press reporter, Rahmzai relayed questions to the village elders directly, who angrily shouted that they would swear on the Quran, the Muslim holy book, that all those killed were civilians. The elders claimed that women and children were among the dead.

The villagers told Rahmzai that they are shepherds and have no ties to militants.

Evaluating competing claims from the U.S. or NATO militaries and Afghan officials or villagers is extremely difficult. Journalists and human rights monitors usually cannot reach the site of a raid because the territory is too dangerous.

Afghan villagers have been known to exaggerate civilian death claims in order to receive more compensation from the U.S. military, and officials have said that insurgents sometimes force villagers to make false death claims

We would appreciate it if anyone could find the Associated Press ever making a similar admission in any of their reports over the last six years.

Suddenly, with the ascension of Mr. Obama, it turns out the locals might be lying about civilian deaths, after all. (Recall the AP’s breathless coverage of Haditha, for instance.)

But what a coincidence, huh?

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, January 24th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

11 Responses to “AP Now Notes Afghans Lie About Civilians”

  1. Odie44 says:

    At least our fine men and women , along with our brave allies are getting respect for the first time.

    Any political capital Bambi / Dems get is secondary…

    • Liberals Demise says:

      I’d be very suspect about anything coming from the AP. Least of them being respect for our and other troops in the War against Terrorism. Since when does a traitor wrap itself in a flag of rightousness?

    • JohnMG says:

      …..”I’m ready to start jihad against the Americans,…..”

      To this I say, “Leap, froggy, leap!”

      Strange how these very same people wishing to wage jihad against Americans are always “civilians” when they get their ass handed to them.

      Kill ’em all, and let God sort ’em out.

  2. oldswimcoach says:

    Having been there, this is not surprising that casualties are inflated. We used to pay about $2,000 US for a death (don’t know the current rate), a paltry sum from a US perspective, but roughly 3-5 years income for an average Afghan (assuming they have employment – and that’s a BIG assumption!).

    Another change that most will miss, the word “militant” is substituted for usual press label of “Taliban.” The violent political stew in Afghanistan includes religious rivalries, tribal rivalries, ethnic rivalries, drug running, organized crime, blood feuds and general criminal activities. There is Taliban, too, but a broad range of criminal and military like activities and attacks were getting labeled as “Taliban” attacks by the press for the ease of the press’ feeble ability to articulate a complex military/political situation, and to make the situation appear worse than it was.

    Also, from the western press coverage during Bush’s tenure, one would think the country of Afghanistan was without problems except for our presence in the country, which causes the Taliban to justifiably attack our imperialist immoral troops. The situation on the ground was just slightly different from the press portrayal (usually on the order of approximately 180 degrees!)

  3. CK says:

    What’s wrong with you if you read this and believed the idea that the AP has not questioned whether Afghan locals exaggerate civilian deaths?

    Associated Press St. Louis Post – Dispatch
    St. Louis, Mo.: Mar 19, 2008. pg. A.11

    “Insurgents and some Afghan civilians hostile to the presence of foreign troops sometimes exaggerate accounts of civilian deaths caused by international forces, or make up claims altogether. Independent verification of battlefield causalities is difficult because the areas are remote and dangerous for travel.”

    That took less than a minute to find, right at the top of the list.

    Did you even try to see if it was an absurd allegation against the AP?

    Why didn’t you investigate? Did you just blindly believe it because you wanted to?

    Can’t you use a search engine?

    Congrats to those of you who didn’t swallow it and won’t do so again.

  4. GuppyNblue says:

    That quote is from the International Herald Tribune concerning a NATO airstrike.

    http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/03/18/news/Afghanistan.php

    Again CK, please provide a link.

  5. CK says:

    Other sources ran that AP story. Your International Herald Tribune is one of them.

    I was at a library, used a newspaper database and it came up as a .pdf not a website.

    Either way, it is a clear example, relatively easy to find that refutes the idea that the AP was not reporting doubts about locals claims during Bush’s administration.

    One has to wonder why anyone would just believe the claim rather than simply check it out for yourself unless you simply wanted to believe that AP was being unfair and didn’t want to be bothered with the facts.

  6. CK says:

    library website not at the library


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