[Marxism] Cost of an Afghan life: $2000

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jul 11 07:12:20 MDT 2008

AP, Friday, 11 July 2008

US airstrike 'killed 47 Afghan civilians'

A US military airstrike this week killed 47 civilians heading to a 
wedding, the head of a government commission reported today.

The airstrike on Sunday in Deh Bala district of Nangarhar province also 
wounded nine other civilians, said Burhanullah Shinwari, the deputy 
chairman of the Senate, who led the delegation.

The US military denied at the time that any civilians were killed in the 
incident. Initially, Afghan officials said 27 civilians had been killed.

Today, US coalition spokesman 1st Lt. Nathan Perry said: "I assure you 
that civilians are never targeted, and that our forces go to great 
lengths to avoid civilian casualties. This incident regarding the air 
strike on July 6th is still under investigation by coalition forces."

Shinwari said that 39 of those killed in the airstrike were women and 
children, including the bride.

The group was targeted twice on Sunday as they walked along with the 
bride from her village toward the groom's house in another village, 
Shinwari said.

The nine-man commission was dispatched by President Hamid Karzai to 
investigate the incident on Tuesday. They returned to Kabul on Thursday. 
The commission included officials from the Ministry of Defense, the 
country's intelligence agency and parliament.

Shinwari said the group gathered information from witnesses and victims' 

All those killed in the incident were buried in one cemetery near the 
village where the attack happened, Shinwari said.

"They were all civilians, with no links to al-Qaida or the Taliban," he 

The members of the commission gave relatives US$2,000 for every person 
killed and US$1,000 for those wounded, he said.

The issue of civilian casualties has caused friction between the Afghan 
government and US and NATO troops, and has weakened the standing of the 
Western-backed Karzai in the eyes of the population.

More than 2,100 people — mostly militants — have been killed in 
insurgency-related violence in Afghanistan this year. More than 8,000 
people died in attacks last year, according to the UN, the most since 
the 2001 US-led invasion.

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