Archived material Access restricted Article
Rantburg

Today's Front Page   View All of Wed 05/13/2009 View Tue 05/12/2009 View Mon 05/11/2009 View Sun 05/10/2009 View Sat 05/09/2009 View Fri 05/08/2009 View Thu 05/07/2009
1
2009-05-13 Afghanistan
95 children among dead in U.S.-Taliban clash - Like counting votes in Chicago, 100%+ normal
Archived material is restricted to Rantburg regulars and members. If you need access email fred.pruitt=at=gmail.com with your nick to be added to the members list. There is no charge to join Rantburg as a member.
Posted by GolfBravoUSMC 2009-05-13 13:13|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [6529 views ]  Top

#1 Or...it could've happened like this. Marine Corps Times...

Days before a May 4 U.S. airstrike allegedly killed Afghan civilians in Farah province, Taliban commanders met across the border in Quetta, Pakistan, to hatch a plot to turn Afghan public sentiment against U.S. forces, according to a military source in Afghanistan who is familiar with the incident.

By many accounts, their plan worked: Within hours of the airstrike, international media were reporting that upwards of 150 innocents, including women and children, had been killed. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Adviser James Jones, the former Marine commandant, both expressed sympathy for the loss of life.

But evidence now shows that many of those civilian casualties appear to have been killed by Taliban grenades — after the airstrike — in a blatant effort to drive up the number of dead and stir public resentment of U.S. military power, the source said.

The Taliban killed 30 to 40 civilians, according to the source. An official count has not been released pending completion of a joint U.S.-Afghan investigation.

Army Gen. David McKiernan, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told reporters May 7, “We have some other information that leads us to distinctly different conclusions about the cause of these civilian casualties.” Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking during a news conference that same day in Kabul, said he had seen such reports but that nothing was confirmed. Neither McKiernan nor Gates elaborated.

The stage was set for the bombing May 4 in Gerani village when Taliban fighters publicly executed three civilians they accused of aiding the Afghan government, the military source in Afghanistan said. The executions, he said, were designed to draw out the Afghan and U.S. forces operating in the area and ambush them when they arrived.

It worked. By midday, a convoy of U.S. and Afghan soldiers headed to the Bala Baluk district, a known Taliban stronghold in southwestern Afghanistan that is home to more than 100,000 Afghans. When they arrived in the village, they were greeted by dozens of Taliban fighters armed with AK47s, rocket-propelled grenades and Russian PKM machine guns, the source said. A massive firefight ensued. Outnumbered, the American and Afghan troops called for additional support. A group of Marines with Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command responded, said Army Col. Greg Julian, a spokesman for U.S. Forces Afghanistan.

Once the Marines arrived, the fighting escalated substantially. Having identified several Taliban fighting positions, the Marines called in an airstrike, Julian said. When it appeared that the Taliban were backing off, the air support was called off and the U.S. and Afghan forces returned to their bases.

Within hours of the fighting, the Taliban launched an aggressive information campaign, claiming that between 100 and 300 civilians had been killed, the source in Afghanistan said. Indeed, those figures have appeared in various media reports.

That’s where the Taliban commanders’ original planning session comes in, the military source in Afghanistan said. In advance of the battle, he said, they ordered Taliban foot soldiers to use grenades, if possible, to execute the civilians they had corralled into the compounds during the ambush, and then present their bodies to the villagers as “evidence” that U.S. warplanes bombed innocent civilians. “In the chaos of a firefight, they figured no one would know the difference,” the source said.

Then the Taliban mingled its own dead with the civilians, to make the number of dead appear larger, he said. Taliban corpses were buried with the civilian bodies to give the appearance that they were part of the civilian death toll, the source said, adding that latest estimates put the number of Taliban dead around 50.

In Gerani, the lone gravesite contained 60 bodies “at most,” the source said, and an employee at the provincial hospital reported staff there treated 11 patients as a result of the fighting.

“If 200 people were killed, you would think there would have been a lot more wounded,” he said. “Even if 60 were killed, it seems like that would have been the case — unless, of course, most of those 60 people were executed ... after the fact. Two hundred killed and 11 wounded? You do the math.”

Moreover, he added, intel suggest that some of the dead civilians had wounds consistent with fragmentation and bullet holes — rather than the burns and tissue damage commonly found on victims of a bombing.

During a meeting with coalition forces and Afghan government officials after the airstrike, villagers — some of whom were held hostage by the Taliban — confirmed that the Taliban rounded up some of the civilians and killed them, the source said. Most of the villagers understood it to have been a calculated plan carried out by the Taliban to blame the entire incident on U.S. and Afghan forces, he said.

This is not the first incident in which the military has rejected claims of mass civilian casualties resulting from U.S. airstrikes. Last year, following a series of investigations, coalition officials concluded that the Taliban killed most of the civilians who were claimed to have died as a result of an airstrike in Azizabad, a village in the Shindand district in Herat province.

In 2007, a company with MarSOC was kicked out of Afghanistan after claims that a platoon of Marines indiscriminately fired on and killed civilians following a suicide bomb attack on their convoy. After an investigation, Lt. Gen. Samuel Helland, head of Marine Corps Forces Central Command, determined the Marines acted appropriately.
Posted by tu3031 2009-05-13 13:49||   2009-05-13 13:49|| Front Page Top

#2 tell ya the truth i don't give a damn, where are the articles about the taloban gas attacks on the girls schools? The damn whole AP is so biased against the US it's not even funny.
Posted by rabid whitetail 2009-05-13 15:07||   2009-05-13 15:07|| Front Page Top

#3 Interesting, tu; linkie, please? Found the website, can't seem to find the article.
Posted by anonymous5089 2009-05-13 16:33||   2009-05-13 16:33|| Front Page Top

#4 anonymous5089

Linkie to Marinie Storie
Posted by GolfBravoUSMC 2009-05-13 16:48||   2009-05-13 16:48|| Front Page Top

#5 quoted from comment #1:
Once the Marines arrived, the fighting escalated substantially.


you just gotta love it.
Posted by abu do you love ">abu do you love  2009-05-13 22:29||   2009-05-13 22:29|| Front Page Top

23:55 trailing wife
23:54 Richard of Oregon
23:51 Richard of Oregon
23:51 ed
23:39 ed
22:54 Procopius2k
22:34 Cornsilk Blondie
22:31 Cornsilk Blondie
22:29 Cornsilk Blondie
22:29 abu do you love
21:44 DMFD
21:41 DMFD
21:34 eLarson
21:33 DMFD
21:32 Pappy
21:06 Eric Jablow
21:00 Frank G
20:41 Rambler in Virginia
20:37 JosephMendiola
20:35 Redneck Jim
20:30 Redneck Jim
20:29 Anguper Hupomosing9418
20:29 Chief
20:26 Anguper Hupomosing9418
Merry-Go-Blog










Paypal:
Google
Search WWW Search rantburg.com