Prof. Marc W. Herold, February 21, 2008
The massacre in Shagay, Bakwa district of Farah Province
Eleven people were killed in the air strike including seven members of one family – a woman, 2 children, and 4 men.
By Prof. Marc W. Herold
In memory of and sympathy for
Faiz Mohammad, 79
Mauladad, son of Bismallah
Allahdad, 10, child of Bismallah
Shah Wali, son of Noor Mohammad
Ahmad Shah, 14, child of Gul Baran
Haji Saleh, son of Haji Qalander
Malok, child of Mohammad Masoom
3 women killed
Gul Baran, son of Noor Mohammad, injured
Janan, 11, son of Masoom, injured
Mohammad Wali, 7, son of Shah Wali, injured
Khara, 5, son of Mauladad, injured
A woman injured
7 family members abducted (to a fate unknown)
Late Sunday, February 3/4, 2008 in a compound in Bakwa district, Shagay area of Farah Province. NATO occupation and Afghan forces carried out an air and ground assault upon a home where allegedly a Taliban commander was present. Eleven people were killed in the air strike including seven members of one family – a woman, 2 children, and 4 men. The raiders also abducted seven family members to a fate unknown. The photo from Iran’s Alalam News shows relatives mourning the dead. The names of the victims were provided to the author by the Afghan women’s organization, RAWA.
As usual the news wire service headlines were revealing:
“Air Strike Kills 7 Civilians in Afghanistan,” Reuters (Feb 4, 2008, 11:51 AM GMT)
“Afghan Air Strike Kills Eight,” Reuters (Feb, 2008 at 5:50 GMT)
“Ten Civilians Killed in Airstrike in Afghanistan,” DPA (Feb 4, 2008, 10:11 GMT)
“Women, Children Killed in Afghan Raid: Local Officials,” Agence France Presse (Feb 4, 2008)
“Afghan, NATO Troops Kill 10 Civilians,” Press TV (Iran) (Feb 4, 2008 at 13:54:56)
“Occupiers Kill Afghan Civilians,” Prensa Latina (Cuba) (Feb 4, 2008)
“19 Dead in Raids, Clashes in Afghanistan,” Associated Press (Feb 4, 2008)
“Provincial Official Says Civilians Killed in Afghan West Operation,” Afghan Islamic Press printed by BBC Worldwide Monitoring (February 12, 2008)
Noor Khan, Associated Press reporter based in Kandahar, omits all reference to civilians dying and no mention is made of air strikes. The Associated Press heeds the Pentagon and official U.S. preference, neglecting or burying the sensitive issue of civilian causalities caused by the US/NATO occupation forces’ actions.
Eleven days after the deadly attack, a report by the private Pakistan-based news service, Afghan Islamic Press news agency provided further shocking details, which I quote:
Herat, 12 February: The chairman of the Provincial Council of Farah [western Afghanistan] says those killed in Farah are not Taliban, but civilians, including three women. Speaking to Afghan Islamic Press [AIP] this morning, the chairmanof Farah Provincial Council, Abdol Qader Daqiq, said: "The 11 people killed by foreigners in an operation duringthe night in the Shagay area of Bakwa District some days ago were not Taliban, but civilians, who also included three women."
Mr Daqiq said: "Foreign forces directly went to this area from Kandahar and killed whoever they saw there. They even killed people in their blankets." Mr Daqiq who seemed quite disturbed by the incident told AIP: "There was not even a single Taleb in the area and pilgrims were guests there and even one of the pilgrims was also martyred inthe attack who had come from the pilgrimage only 14 days ago."
Mr Daqiq said: "I am not saying this, but after the incident, 100 elders and leaders of Bakwa, Golestan and Delaram Districts came to the Provincial Council and said all of those killed were civilians. These elders and leadersalso visited the governor, National Security Department and the PRT [Provincial Reconstruction Team] and told them the whole story. They said that foreign forces had killed civilians." Mr Daqiq also said: "This incident has disturbed people a great deal and they are not happy. If such operations continue, people may migrate to another country or move to the mountains. This will also help the Taliban conduct their propaganda."
Asked what they demanded of the government, the chairman of Farah Provincial Council said: "No-one apologized for killing these people nor did they assist and sympathize with them. This is not fair. They should apologize for killing these people and assist and sympathize with them. Such operations should not be carried out in future, so that the gap between the government and the nation does not widen."
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