MURDER IN AFGHANISTAN May 22, 2011Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
The headline described it as a ‘blotched raid”, but it seems more like an escapade of the keystone cops in a military context with tragic consequences.
In its own way, it was another terrorist action in the long running “humanitarian war” in Afghanistan.
Bette Dam and Tom Hyland report in the Sun Herald:
Early on the morning of February 13, 2009, the narrow lane outside Shapiro’s walled compound was crowded with about 30 armed men, 18 Australian special forces and their Afghan army allies.
The first house raid by the camouflaged soldiers found nothing. The Australians moved to the next house, Ms Khan’s, 20 metres along the path. After breaking down the door, they handcuffed Shapiro’s brother-in-law Zahir and interrogated him about the Taliban. He was blindfolded, his ears blocked so he didn’t see or hear what happened next.
Shapiro shook her husband awake, saying: ”I hear some people walking on the roof.” He grabbed his AK-47 rifle.
She said her husband shot first, firing blindly into the dark. The soldiers responded with grenades.
”Suddenly, the room was full of fire, everything burned,” Shapiro said.
”Amrullah was the only person in the house who was using a weapon.”
She disputes stories of walls disintegrating under her husband’s fire.
”It was just a Kalashnikov, an AK-47, and he was shooting from the door, so he hit only one part of the surrounding wall.”
Later that day, Lieutenant General Mark Evans, then chief of joint operations, announced a ”suspected insurgent” had been killed in an exchange of fire with Australian troops. Five children had tragically been killed, he said. He gave few details, and said an investigation would be held.
According to Shapiro, the Australians knew immediately they had the wrong man, something the ADF has never admitted. Nor has the ADF given any detailed account of the raid.
Shapiro said she saw the Australians take out a photo and compare it with Amrullah Khan. ”It’s not him, it’s not him,” she says a translator shouted. Helicopters then took Amrullah, Shapiro and the wounded children to hospital at the military camp in Tarin Kowt.
The next morning, she was told Amrullah had died. The soldiers apologised. ”We made a mistake,” Shapiro Khan recalls them saying. ”We caught the wrong person. We are sorry for that.”
Her brother-in-law Zahir was given a similar explanation of what happened. “It wasn’t the person we were looking for,” they told him.
But like the murder accompanying drone based missile attacks, this was not a isolated and related deaths of innocent civilians including children can be foreseen. The article observes:
Senior UN and military officials admit the practice of false reporting is widespread in Afghanistan.
In a report in May 2009, UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston wrote that many Afghan government officials had told him that ”false tips” had ”often” led to the killing of innocent civilians in targeted night raids.
ADF investigators have never visited the scene or interviewed the survivors, citing security issues. But The Sun-Herald has visited Sorkh Morghab twice since March. And Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd was there in February, opening a construction project. Shapiro[widow of the murdered man] criticised the Australian soldiers for not checking their information.
Somehow our enlightened, or more aptly benighted political leaders argue that these military murders are presumably not a form of terrorism, and that the presence of the troops in Afghanistan is to constrain terrorism. They have never heard that violence begets violence.