Welcome to Peace News, the newspaper for the UK grassroots peace and justice movement. We seek to oppose all forms of violence, and to create positive change based on cooperation and responsibility. See more

"Peace News has compiled an exemplary record... its tasks have never been more critically important than they are today." Noam Chomsky

  • facebook
  • rss
  • twitter

Atrocity in Azizabad

More details have emerged concerning the 21-22 August US airstrike on the village of Nawabad, the Azizabad area of Shindand district, reported in last month’s PN.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) human rights team visited the area immediately after the massacre, resulting in a statement by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan on 26 August: “Investigations by UNAMA found convincing evidence, based on testimony of eyewitnesses, and others, that some 90 civilians were killed, including 60 children, 15 women and 15 men. 15 other villagers were wounded or otherwise injured.”
This represents the largest known civilian death toll in a single incident involving Western forces during the present conflict in Afghanistan.
New York Times reporters visited Nawabad and counted 42 fresh graves (some containing several children, apparently) and were given a detailed list of names and places where the remaining victims were buried (taken back to their home villages).
The pro-US district chief of Shindand, Lal Muhammad Umarzai said he personally counted 76 bodies, while a local doctor counted 50-60 civilian dead – most of them women and children, and some of them his own patients.
Yakhakhan, 51, one of several men in the village working for a private security firm, and who uses just one name, saw his neighbour’s sons shot dead in front of his house: “They were killed right here; they were ten and seven years old”. In the neighbouring compound, four entire families, including those of his two brothers, were killed, he stated. “They bombard us, they hate us, they kill us,” he said of the Americans. “God will punish them.”
According to one eyewitness (an Afghan policeman’s wife), US special forces raided the main compound after the missile attacks, accompanied by Afghans, and the force carried out three extra-judicial killings.
This ties in with earlier reports of similar killings by US special forces operating alongside Afghans, confirmed in May by professor Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on illegal killings. In a revealing comment on Afghan sovereignty, president Hamid Karzai said, after visiting Nawabad: “I have been working day and night over the past five years to prevent such incidents, but I haven’t been successful in my efforts. If I had succeeded, the people of Azizabad wouldn’t be bathed in blood.”

Censored cameraphone footage taken by a local doctor the day after the attack on Nawabad is on The Times website: http://tinyurl.com/5gdrbp

Topics: Afghanistan