December 29th, 2009
01:26 PM ET

U.S. source: 'Civilians' killed were in bomb-making ring

Kabul, Afghanistan - Nine people killed in a military action targeting militants in eastern Afghanistan apparently were members of an insurgent network, a U.S. military official told CNN on Tuesday.  "The operation was against a network of folks, who had been tracked for a while, involved in producing IEDs as well as some criminal activity," said the official, who asked not to be named.

"As a result of the action, the best info that we have is that nine of those militants in that network were killed. That's based on weapons and IED components at the scene," and it appears the nine were males, the official said.  IED is the acronym for improvised explosive device, which is a roadside bomb.

U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan said Monday they were investigating reports that 10 Afghan civilians, including eight students, were killed Saturday in a coalition operation in the Narang district of Kunar province.

Said Fazelayallah, governor of Kunar province, told CNN Monday that 10 civilians, in fact, were killed. Coalition forces said they killed their targets, he said, but a delegation sent by the governor to investigate reported the civilian casualties.

Civilian casualties in the Afghan war have stoked outrage among the citizenry and Afghan authorities. U.S. and other international forces have been working to stop such fatalities, and they have accused Taliban militants of putting civilians in harm's way.

The United Nations in Afghanistan said on Tuesday that from January to October of this year, 1,404 deaths have been caused by insurgents; 465 have been caused by pro-government forces, such as NATO's International Security Assistance Force; and other causes have led to 165 civilian deaths.

In this Kunar province incident, Fazelayallah said the operation was launched without the knowledge of government officials in the province.

The U.S. military source said it was "a joint operation with Afghan and U.S. forces."

The numbers of civilian casualties have fallen off in recent months, since Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal took over as U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

The military's goal is to protect population centers to enable the government to improve security and governance, McChrystal told CNN's Christiane Amanpour earlier this month. Civilian casualties, he said, make it less likely that the Afghans will support the coalition.

"It is better to miss a target than to cause civilian casualties," he said. "We can always target enemy leaders later. We can't make up for the fact that we killed civilians."

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soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. A. Smith, Oregon

    The CIA created the Taliban in the 1980's to fight against the Russian troops in Afghanistan. The CIA trained and instructed the Taliban in creating IED's and how to torture Russian captives for information.

    Some of those same bomb makers the CIA initially paid American taxpayer money and directly trained are likely still in the business today 20 years later. Killing thousands of Afghan and American soldiers. I would order the CIA to produce its old client list for Pakistan IED bomb makers.

    December 30, 2009 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. v

    Targeted and killed. Good job, keep it up.

    December 30, 2009 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. Owusu

    Look, if you are going to fight thinking of not hitting civilians, then you might as well pack and go home.

    You see, the tallabans are using the civilians as fodders or are launching bombs and others inside civillian centres, knowing that you would not retalliate.

    When they throw bombs in your cities, do you think they do not know that it is only civillians who are going to die?

    There is nothing that can be gained without a penalty.

    Please go ahead and let us leave our children with a better world than what we are creating now for our them.

    Please fight on and more kudos to your men and women who are fighting for us.

    Do not mind the people in their rooms who are making all the funny noises about killing civillians?

    If they are all that holy, they should go and preach to the talabans and leave us alone.

    Praying for you all.

    December 29, 2009 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SamRam

    World Peace:

    Our expressions of love and compassion create a world at peace. With every loving thought we hold, every kind word we express, we contribute to a world at peace. Each of us has the power to love and the ability to be patient and forgiving, no matter what is happening. Even in the appearance of turmoil and trouble, we can affirm: Peace, be still.

    We can still troubled waters with the power of our love. As we go about our day, we express compassion wherever possible.

    As we pray, we see the divine good in our loved ones and we inspire others. Centered in the divine nature of our being and the oneness that we are, we are powerful. Our smallest acts combine with the actions of others to create a world at peace, a world that works for all.

    ~~ "So that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."–John 17:26

    December 29, 2009 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rich

    Reminds me of Vietnam. Any missile launchers near hospitals?

    December 29, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |