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NYT: Civilians Killed In Attack On Taliban!

From an outraged New York Times:

Afghan Civilians Killed in Offensive on Taliban


February 14, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — The top United States commander in Afghanistan confirmed that a rocket went astray during operations in the Marja area of Helmand province, killing 12 civilians, according to a statement issued by the International Security Assistance Force and the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the ISAF commander, ordered the withdrawal of the type of rocket launcher used in the incident, a high-mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS), from operations “until a thorough review of this incident has been conducted,” the statement said.

The American commander, who has made reducing civilian casualties a cornerstone of his policy in Afghanistan, apologized to President Hamid Karzai for the incident. “We deeply regret this tragic loss of life,” General McChrystal said. “The current operation in central Helmand is aimed at restoring security and stability to this vital area of Afghanistan. It’s regrettable that, in the course of our joint efforts, innocent lives were lost.”

President Karzai, who has been critical of civilian casualties in the past, warned at the start of the operation to take the city of Marja back from the Taliban that coalition forces should make “every effort” to avoid civilian casualties.

The ISAF statement said the incident took place in Nad Ali district, where Marja is located, when coalition forces were responding to an attack on them from a compound where “insurgents were delivering accurate, direct fire on an Afghan-ISAF joint team.” They responded with the HIMARS but missed their target by 300 meters, ISAF said.

A total of 15,000 Afghan and foreign forces are involved in the Marja operation, which began Saturday, about half of them in Marja itself. The foreign forces include American Marines, who are leading the offensive, along with United States Army and British, Canadian, Danish and Estonian troops…

Afghan officials put the death toll in the rocket incident at 10…

Although NATO officers have said they were refraining from air strikes except where necessary, residents in nearby communities said they saw numerous incidents of air raids on the first day of the action, but not on Sunday. ISAF said there has been no flight of residents from Marja as a result of the operation; previously Afghan government and ISAF officials had urged residents to remain in their homes.

So far, 25 Taliban insurgents had been killed in the fighting, according to Gen. Sher Mohammed Zazai, commander of the Afghan army’s 205th corps, which has five brigades of Afghan soldiers in the operation, with national police units attached to them. General Zazai said no Afghan soldiers or police had been killed so far. In the offensive, which began Saturday, American, Afghan and British troops seized crucial positions across the Taliban stronghold, encountering intense but sporadic fighting as they began the treacherous ordeal of house-to-house searches.

More than 6,000 American, Afghan and British troops came in fast early on Saturday, overwhelming most immediate resistance. But as the troops began to fan out on searches, fighting with Taliban insurgents grew in frequency and intensity across a wide area; the searches and fighting continued on Sunday…

The invasion of Marja is the largest military operation of its kind here since the American-backed war began eight years ago. The area, about 80 square miles of farmland, villages and irrigation canals, is believed to be the largest Taliban sanctuary inside Afghanistan. Afghan and American commanders believe there are also a number of opium factories that the insurgents control to finance their war.

On the first full day of operations, much of the expected resistance failed to materialize. Certainly there was none of the eyeball-to-eyeball fighting that typified the battle for Falluja in Iraq in 2004, to which the invasion of Marja had been compared.

“Actually, the resistance is not there,” Abdul Rahim Wardak, the Afghan defense minister, said in a news conference Saturday in Kabul. “Based on our intelligence reports, some of the Taliban have left the area. But we still expected there to be several hundred. Just yesterday, we received reports that reinforcements had arrived from neighboring provinces.”

Dozens if not hundreds of insurgents probably fled Marja in the days leading up to the assault, according to military officers and local residents. American and Afghan commanders hoped to achieve just that result when they took the unusual step of broadcasting their intention to invade Marja days ahead of time…

So this offensive was announced in advance to allow the Taliban to flee, but the civilians were told to stay in their homes?

Anyway, we are glad for the New York Times and the rest of our watchdog media.

They finally have something from this offensive that they can cheer be outraged about.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, February 14th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

9 Responses to “NYT: Civilians Killed In Attack On Taliban!”

  1. JohnMG says:

    Why should we be surprised? It would be expected that the NYT would find the “offensive” offensive.

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Just to be clear here. These civilian casualties are Bush’s fault, right?

  3. canary says:

    New York Times left out at least 3 U.S.Soldiers killed, 2 Austrailian, 1 Canadian Soldier killed so far by bombs. NYT pointed out no afgan soldiers or police killed, but that is something U.S. soldiers have complained about fighting side by side with them. They run fast & crawl back out clean, when they aren’t gunning down our soldiers over a cup of tea.

    • Steve says:

      To be fair (though I don’t know why), The Times did mention the allied casualties in the original article.

      I just didn’t include that in the excerpts.

  4. proreason says:

    Some heartfelt advice for civilians in Afghanistanc.

    If you value your life, don’t hang around with the Taliban.

  5. canary says:

    How do we know that the Afgans aren’t jumping on their thousands IEDs they were busy burying in the sand. Those poppies sure take the edge off, and help them fight longer.

    An Afgan policeman or soldier probably caused the misfired rocket. NATO soldiers complain of Afgan forces using poppy, and the difficulty in training them with weapons.

  6. GetBackJack says:

    Est Communist nation killing of civilians and non-combatants –

    Red China – 73,000,000 and counting
    USSR – 59,000,000
    Russian Federated Republic – 6,000,000
    Dem Peoples Republic Korea – 4,000,000+ (sketchy data at best)
    Cambodia – 2.5 million
    Afghanistan – 2.5 million and counting (fallout from several criminal regimes)
    Vietnam – 1.6 million
    Ethiopia – 1.4 million
    Yugoslovia – 1.02 million (that are known) Chinese Soviet Republic – 700,000
    Mozambique – 700,000
    Romania – 435,000
    100,000+ – Bulgaria, Mozambique, Mongolia, Albania, Cuba, GDR, etc

    USA in Afghanistan?

    10 … this incident. IF TRUE. Which it usually turns out to be otherwise.

    NYT – how come you don’t go apesh** over the above genocidal body counts? RU aware of history at all? Is this why NOBODY wants your newspaper any more.

    (scratches head)

    Might be. Might be.

  7. joeblough says:

    The bastards at the Times are far more troubled by the death of Afghan civilians than Americans, soldiers or civilians.

    I feel the same way about the people at the Times.

    The lives of hostile populations on the other side of the world are worth far more to me than theirs are.

    BTW I stopped buying that rag in 1985.

  8. Chuckk says:

    Between warning the enemy before we attack, avoiding civilliam casualties at most any cost, political correctness, a hostile press, winning hearts and minds, and grandstanding politicians, it’s amazing we ever kill a single terrorist. I don’t think we have the will to win in Afghanistan.

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