Khataba raid victims’ family longs for justice
GARDEZ (Pajhwok): Family members of the five innocent persons killed in a botched US Special Forces’ raid on a home in southeastern Paktia province say they want the troops involved to be prosecuted and punished.
The five family members were killed in the American raid on Feb 11, 2010 in the village of Khataba near Gardez, the provincial capital. The slain persons included two brothers, their wives and a teenage sister.
One of the brothers was an Afghan National Army service member based in Wazi Zadran district and the second was a prosecutor in Ahmadabad district. The American forces also took away with them some other members of the family and later released them.
Haji Sharabuddin, the family patriarch, told Pajhwok Afghan News their relatives and villagers had gathered to celebrate the birth of his grandson before the raid took place.
“It was 3am when I heard some noise and as I looked above, I saw American troops standing on home’s roof. They also sported beards. Then they came down to the courtyard and entered rooms.”
“First my eldest son Mohammad Daud came out and was shot dead and then my second son came out, he was also gunned down.”
After this, the crying women came out to the courtyard and they all were shot one and after another by the Americans, leaving a pool of blood behind.
The American forces kept standing in the open the family’s guests until morning at a time when the entire area was covered with snow, the 85-year-old said.
Sharab Khan said the foreign troops searched their home, but found nothing, but took away 4.7 million Pakistani rupees from their home while leaving.
Since the incident, he said, government officials had many times promised assistance, but they did not keep their promises.
“The American forces later returned 1.5 million rupees and the Afghan government gave us 600,000 afghanis in aid. But later no one turned up to help us.”
Sharab Khan said the American forces had acknowledged their involvement in the raid and had apologized. “The American troops many times came to my home and then provided us food assistance.”
He said it was his entire family’s demand and wish to see the killers of his two sons, a daughter and two daughters-in-law tried and punished for their deeds.
The grey-bearded man said he was responsible to support families of his slain sons, who left behind eight children. To meet financial needs, Sharab Khan buys and sells household animals.
In breaking voice, Sharab Khan said: “If (President) Obama had offered me kingship of the whole world, I would not have given him any of sons. The lives of my sons and family members went in vain. I wish they were not innocent.”
He said his sons were not with the Taliban, but with the government and a ranger pick-up vehicle was parked in front of their house when the raid took place.
This reporter tried to talk to another member of the family, but no one appeared for an interview.
Paktia police chief Brig. Gen. Qadir Gul Zadran told Pajhwok Afghan News the deadly raid took place some years back in Khataba village.
“At the time, I was not here. It is government’s responsibility to assist such families.”
Zadran said he would again share the family’s problems with government officials and foreigners in order to provide them assistance.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.