Investigators seek end to civilian casualties
KABUL (PAN): A team investigating civilian deaths in Kunar and Kapisa provinces on Monday urged an immediate end to the collateral damage in NATO-led airstrikes, saying mere apologies and condolences were no more acceptable to the people.
Investigations by the teams appointed by President Hamid Karzai show 15 civilians, including women and children, were killed in an airstrike and a ground operation by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
Seven people of a family were killed in the Sawkai district of Kunar and another eight children in the Nijrab district of central Kapisa province, investigators told a news conference in Kabul.
Maulvi Shahzada Shahid, head of the delegation that returned from Kunar, said coalition soldiers had not informed local officials about their operation in the Diwagul village of Sawkai on January 26.
In addition to seven civilians, two gunmen were also killed during the offensive. Shahid said residents would resist if foreign soldiers continued ignoring demands of the Afghan government, Parliament and the traditional jirga.
"When the international community kills us, we won’t accept death without resistance. And if the president, national assembly, ulema council and high peace council cannot protect us, we must defend ourselves…" Shahid quoted tribal elders of Kunar as saying.
Investigators returning from Kapisa said the February 8 NATO strike had killed children between 6 and 14 years of age.
Heading the probe team, Mohammad Zahir Sapi, showed the victims’ pictures to media representatives and said despite disagreements among intelligence operatives, French soldiers carried out the operation in the Giawa area of Nijrab district.
Intelligence officials had told French troops that there were no insurgents in the area and if there were any, Afghan spies could carry out an operation, he said, adding the alliance did not inform district officials.
According to Shahid, French soldiers also confirmed the operation had been based on wrong information and the victims were innocent children.
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