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PAN, January 6, 2009

Helmandis fret over indiscriminate NATO-led ISAF strikes

Locals claimed that over 17 civilians most of them elders and children had been killed by ISAF soldiers during the last fortnight.

Zainullah Stanekzaiz

LASHKARGAH: Locals of Sangin district of southern Helmand province Tuesday warned that majority of the residents were compelled to flee the area due to the airstrikes carried out by NATO-led ISAF forces without even informing the local security forces.

Locals claimed that over 17 civilians most of them elders and children had been killed by ISAF soldiers during the last fortnight. The locals also criticized the irresponsible strikes of ISAF soldiers in a gathering participated by governor.

Afghan children hit by US-led air strike receive treatment at a local hospital in Kandahar
Nov.5, 2008: Afghan children hit by US-led air strike receive treatment at a local hospital in Kandahar

In the gathering held for welcoming of Governor Muhammad Gulab Mangal which was also participated by elders and local officials, Haji Abdullah Khan, a tribal elder told Pajhwok Afghan News the irresponsible strike by ISAF troops had made the lives of the locals miserable.

"They break into our houses violating the sanctity of our homes which is unbearable insult for us as it is against our customs and tradition", he said adding such operation and insult forced ordinary people to flee their houses.

"When attacked by militants the foreign forces resort to indiscriminate fire without any consideration to civilians," he pointed out.

Some youths were still missing as foreign troops took them to their base in some areas of the district, another tribal elder remarked.

Abdul Waheed urged governor Mangal to take notice of such operations and call on the foreign soldiers to organize their operations in the lawless district that has recently become precarious.

"Ordinary people will be forced to take arms and to fight against Afghan government and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldiers if the current situation continues," he warned.

Governor Muhammad Gulab Mangal hearing complaints of ordinary people promised them to convey their demands and apprehensions to the central government. Mangal called on them to get united and do not allow militants to do anti government activities.

He has also suggested the dwellers of Sangin district to register their names for the upcoming election and cast their votes. Situated on Helmand River northwest of capital Lashkargah, Sangin district recently witnessed an increase in violence.

Category: Taliban/ISIS/Terrorism, US-NATO, Children, HR Violations - Views: 7430