MPs want killers of civilians punished
KABUL (PAN): A number of Wolesi Jirga members on Saturday called for meting out exemplary punishment to those responsible for an airstrike that killed four civilians, including two women, in northern Takhar province.
Rejecting NATO's claim that the dead were insurgents, locals insist they were civilians. The alliance said that two women and as many men were killed in Tuesday's raid on the outskirts of Taloqan.
It said that the women were armed, one with an assault rifle, the other with a pistol.The deaths sparked violent protests in the provincial capital on Thursday.
A dozen people were killed and at least 90 others injured after police opened fire at the protestors, who were trying to torch the police headquarters on Wednesday, the first day of the protest. Several shops and cars were damaged as the demonstration turned violent.
During Saturday's session, Abdul Wahid Faqirzada, a lawmaker from Takhar, claimed the victims were civilians. He said it was not for the first time that civilians had been killed by foreign troops.
In the past, he added, many people had been killed in flawed operations, said the lawmaker, who urged the international community to award strict punishment to those responsible for the deaths.
About the violent protest by residents, he said: "It was a social and organised movement by residents, but the government turned it into a political one."
Another parliamentarian from Farah province, Mohammad Sarwar Usmani, criticised foreign soldiers for killing civilians during their operations against militants and then tendering a simple apology.
"Saying I'm sorry or excuse me would not heal our wounds," Usmani said, asking legislators to join hands for preventing civilian casualties by foreign troops. If we cannot stop them from killing innocent civilians, then let's close the doors of this house, otherwise our drawing salaries is haram (prohibited by Islam)," he remarked.
Usmani called foreign troops "the real cause of war in Afghanistan". He said they had not come to the country to fight terrorism, but to fuel the scourge.
Fikori Behshati, a lawmaker from central Bamyan province, suggested the creation of a parliamentary commission to prepare a strategy for preventing the collateral damage.
Representative from central Logar province, Sahib Khan, also called for punishing those responsible for killing civilians.
Speaker Abdul Rauf joined lawmakers in condemning the civilian fatalities in Takhar. He said top security officials be summoned to the Wolesi Jirga on Wednesday to brief the house on the incident and the overall security situation in the country.
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