February 15th, 2010
01:27 PM ET

Rocket that killed 12 civilians hit target, official says

WASHINGTON - A rocket that killed 12 civilians during the NATO-led offensive in Afghanistan hit its intended target, but the troops who fired it did not know that civilians were inside the building, a senior military official said Monday.

The civilians were killed Sunday by a rocket fired during Operation Moshtarak, the biggest offensive that the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force has conducted since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The offensive aims to force the Taliban from Marjah, a regional center in southern Afghanistan.

ISAF issued a statement saying the 12 civilians were killed when a rocket hit about 600 meters from its intended target. A senior ISAF official, however, said the rocket was not off target at all. The official said troops hit the building they were aiming for but did not know that civilians were inside.

The official has direct knowledge of the incident, but he declined to be named because an investigation is under way. Coalition troops targeted the building after taking "constant fire from five locations" in its immediate vicinity, the official said.


Filed under: Operation Moshtarak
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Karl

    Also this is not a war to get even for 911.

    June 18, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Karl

    911 doesn't give anyone the right to kill civillians.These people did nothing to anyone.Can't even afford plane tickets.They would have to have real powerful guns to reach the US of A.So quit hating all Moslem people.Do you people want a WW3.There has to be a better way than this.Where is the freedom here.I don't see it.I see oppression and death.

    June 18, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Karl

    Kinda weird that they do this to almost all former allies.Hussein,Binladen.Noriega etc.

    June 18, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Patrick

    I can't help but feel the American army is a little 'gun ho' he Brit soldiers, airmen etc and other allies don't seem to have this problem. Its the same with the ble on blue incidents, I seem to remember the Brits taking nearly as many casulaties from the Americans than the Iraqi army!

    February 17, 2010 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ashley Marine Girlfriend

    Some of you people just want to sit on here and complain about how the military is trying to take over other countires, it's not that we are actually trying to make them like us that country had leaders who didn't care about any of their people.. I am sorry brained washed them into think they can go to heaven by taking other lives.. I am sorry do we not remember 9/11? Believe me I want nothing more then for our troops to come home.. but so of you just make it seem like we are bullying them, when really they do know who they are going after but it's not like they have a tattoo or wear a certian uniform... They look like everyone else... so if your so awesome in figuring out how to find the bad guy then you get off the computer and go sign up and fight the war come on some of you sound like idiots.. Really and on a second note they are not stupid over there it pretty simple when someone tells you to get out of the way or get out a building you move you don't just stay there and wait to see what happens that is called common sense. Really honeslty come on... and yeah I agree you want to complain about the amounts of deaths then look at our troops deaths because of this war of us just being so called bullies, the Taliban leaders don't care about anyone but thier own lives and making others do the dirty work for them. No how about you do your research and look it all up and not just pick ones that sound gory or good.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ed

    I saw very little justification for the invasion of Iraq other than gaining access to their significant oil reserves.

    Afghanistan, however, is another story. The ruling Taliban was allowing Al Quaida to hide and operate from within that country, exporting terrorism around the world. So we not only had a government that was treating it's own people badly but was also involved in terrorist activity in other countries. That could not be allowed to continue.

    It is just unfortunate that Bin Laden and his ilk escaped from there to Pakistan before they were captured and/or killed. Having said that we now need to get the Afgan police and military up to speed quickly and get our military out of their country as soon as possible. The most we should leave behind for a while should be some "advisors"

    February 16, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dave

    I just wish that there was as much outrage against the suicide bombers. Suicide bombers kill civilians nearly every day. They are neighbors killing neighbors and yet, many of you who are so critical of the death of these 12 civillians stay quiet. Is it only because it is the US that did this? If an Afgan had killed 12 civilliams yesterday, would it still be the fault of the US?

    February 16, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TLC

    War is ugly, messy and difficult to control. It would be best if it never happens. But that is not reality. Good Foriegn policy goes a long way to keeping us safe, but when extremists (of ANY stripe) take up violence as a viable response, pacifism goes out the window. No one forced the Taliban to attack America. They show no remorse for even the children they murdered for their cause. They cannot be reasoned with or appeased so it comes to this. They set this in motion and they cared not at all about anything but their vision of How Things Should Be. Extremism is societal rabies and we don't yet have a cure.

    February 16, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. lucy

    Let's see – we are not supposed to kill any civilians but we are not being hard enough on terrorists. I don't suppose anyone sees any contradiction here? Of course it is terrible when civilians are killed but our military is doing the best they can and they can hardly keep track of every civilian in two countries while they are fighting this war.

    February 16, 2010 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. Maaku Adi

    Oh and for those of you who keep saying leave when you atre asked, I wonder if it would be that easy for you to leave the little you have and flee to nothing. They are not in the USA, they are in Afghanistan.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. Maaku Adi

    Miles Apduhan, what are you talking about; Dems criticizing Obama. This would have been finished if Bush kept his eye on the job. Criticize Obama, what an ignorant fellow.
    They are called casualtie of war, lets all pray for the world.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. Travis

    It's not a fair comparison...any country invading the USA will not have concern for civilians. That will only happen if some country comes to the rescue of a large part of our populace, and can segment them from other nationalities. Not likely to happen.
    I admit that I am torn between being against or for, any military actions in other countries...on one hand I feel they should dictate their lives according to their norms. On the other, I feel we cannot turn a blind eye to atrocities, even if they are outside of our jurisdiction. If individuals and nations didi not speak out against the institution of slavery, and the practice of racism, America would be a very different place to live.
    So, as long as we set the proper example, the world DOES need to be like us. Our challenge is to achieve that example as a society, We haven't done a good job of that.
    Militarilly....I am against war, but if it must be waged, it should be designed eliminate the enemy, I hate to make the comparison but it applies....if we would rather spend money to kill people abroad, than educate people at home.....we have not advance very far as a society.

    February 16, 2010 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. Madrugada

    Hey, where's Goldstone and the UN! Or do they only investigate Israeli "war crimes". What a joke and double standard that Israel has to face on a daily basis trying to protect their own civilians from indiscriminate Hamas rocket attacks.
    I do feel sorry for the civilians in Afghanistan because they did not vote the terrorist taliban into power. They are truly innocent, unlike the Pals who voted for the terrorist Hamas. They reap what they sow.

    February 15, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Gee Gee

    First they said they missed the target with their almost entirely untested new HIMARS artillery, which cost $100,000 per round, and are 'legitimate and certified' to hit within 2m of their target, but, oh, wait a minute, that means the US was using an untested weapons system in a civilian urban setting, ummm, little problem, that's a war crime, and oh, well, Ambassador HIMARS called from BAE Systems, a British mercenary contractor, is beta testing their arms on innocent civilians and said, 'Hey, HIMARS didn't miss, you aimed wrong, DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M SAYING!?'

    Then the Pentagon officials hurriedly got with the Psyops Department are put together a 'correction statement'. 'What the field officer reported as a missed aim that hit a civilian target, was in fact, the field officer was saying the troops 'missed the fact' the target was civilian. There are no problems with the fully-tested, legitimate and certified HIMARS system!!

    That is all. AMCOM should be relabeled AMCON!

    February 15, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Malik

    Well if that house in memphis harbors a bunch of right-wing armed fundamentalists from the same group of wingnuts who just sent a couple of airplanes to take down a couple of Bulgarian high rise buildings, YOU SHOULD BE FORGIVING THEM!

    I'm a malaysian and I don't even think americans went to a wretched land like afghanistan intentionally or to shape it according to its image (iraq is a bad decision indeed, but afghanistan is not, it is a just war and if you pack up and leave now, the next thing they'll do probably is to hit white house and statue of liberty or who knows, yankee stadium?, and you'll be having to go there once again for a lot lot longer stay. Terrorism and islamic fundamentalism is a cancer you have to uproot now before it's too late)

    February 15, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Mike

    @ Janeie – your comment "WHY didn't they know their were civilians there? It's their JOB to know."

    Their job to know? You should take your tail end there and go from house to house and knock on the door "Hello, you Taliban? Ok, sorry to bother you" next house "Hi you must be Taliban you look like a mean man with a weapon, please tell the children and women you are holding here to go out because we are going to blow your ass up".....
    It's a WAR, I just cannot believe the crap some of you Moral Apostles are preaching. Did anyone from Iraq or Afghanistan ever go to John, Tom or Steve's parents and say they are sorry their son died defending their country? Did they ever send any money to the American families? NO
    Sorry but if I lived there and there were Taliban there, I would know they are a BAD thing so I would walk as long as I could to get to a city where there are no Taliban. Even without an education a person knows good and bad or at least they should. But then again when I think about all the suicide bombers it makes me wonder how stupid a human can really be.
    Oh and by the way, I am waiting to go to Afghanistan to work as a network engineer to assist our troops with their communications.
    Peace Out

    February 15, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Eliott

    There are a bunch of idealistic, naive armchair quarterbacks out there, judging from the comments. I'm proud to be in SE Afghanistan as this unfolds. Marine Mom gets it. Instead of succumbing to the anguish she no doubt felt when she learned that her son was deploying to Helmand, she took the time to educate herself on the realities of the insurgency in Afghanistan. I'd be willing to bet that some of that knowledge came straight from her Marine son. If he's like any of the Marines I know, he's not complaining about being over here fighting in the cold. He's more likely happy to be here defending YOUR right to complain in anonymous online posts, made from the comfort of home or your corner Starbucks. Pierce – since you like imagery so much, here's an image for you: children being held above the heads of Taliban cowards who do this because they know we WILL NOT fire on them. That's reality; we see it every day here.

    February 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Alan M

    So, 12 civilians killed, half of them children (according to AP).
    Our hands are so bloody, I feel bad as an American.
    This is why they fight against us...

    February 15, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Miles Apduhan

    ...still waiting for the Dems to question Obama...silence is golden...

    February 15, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  20. vinny

    They were warned to get out. The Taliban hides behind innocent civilians. This is a war and unfortunately this happens. Stop youre over sensitive whining. They even dropped leaflets warning that they would be in route

    February 15, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  21. George Washington

    On 911, if you where told to leave would you? Well the terrorists are come, pack up your things and go. Here is a tent, now leave. Well what are you waiting for a bullet in the head.

    Keep it green

    February 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  22. rcasteel

    Simply put, If you allow an attack from within a crowd you are in, you condone the attack. If you allow the perpetrators to lay down guns and walk away with you, you participated in the attack.

    In short, stand up and revolt against the attacks or die with the dirtbags.

    February 15, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Insan Mukmin

    Milosevic is on trial at the Hague for this very same crime – the shelling of civilian populated towns.

    February 15, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Insan Mukmin

    Sometimes terrorists wear a uniform too.

    February 15, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  25. mike

    I am sorry this conflict is going on, and I wish that it could be resolved. But come on people! If you stand on the tracks you might get ran over by the train... If they tell you a hurricane is coming then get out of the way. The point is that if they drop leaflets in my neighborhood telling me the war is coming I'm out of there. You are responsible to some degree for your own safety and yes if it came down to losing everything i have I'd choose that and flee rather than stay and risk my life.

    February 15, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  26. russell clarke

    TO THREE TIMES VET I THINK YOU ARE NOT FOR REAL AND FIND YOU OFFENSIVE TO THOSE WHO ARE SERVING AND HAVE PAYED THE ULTIMITE PRICE FOR FREEDOM YOU SAID ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD IF OUR FORFATHERS HAD NOT STOOD IN SECOND WORLD WAR YOU AND OTHERS MAY NOT BE HERE NOW AND IF WE DONT STAY THE DISTANCE AND DEFEND THE FREEDOM OF THE WORLD AND THE OEOPLE IN IT THEN THOSE THAT GAVE THEIR LIVES IN ALL WARS BEFORE WOULD HAVE DIED FOR NOTHING WE CAN NOT SURRENDER TO TERRIRISTS AS THEY DID NOT SURRENDER IN THEIR WARS FOR THE RIGHT TO BE FREE AND FOR THE WORLD TO BE FREE SO THAT ALL OF US COULD BE BORN FREE IF YOU SERVED GET HELP IF YOU DIDNT THEN STOP LYING !!!!!

    February 15, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  27. ivica

    for corrupt afghan ministers and generals marja is "almost" under control. of course it is not true. taliban are in marja and marines reported fierce resistance in last hours. for afghan desinformators whole afghanistan is "almost" under goverment control, of course exept 100 districts in taliban hands.

    February 15, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  28. ken

    Sorry folks hearts and minds are not how wars are won. Just look at WWII for that example. That's the last time a war was really won. Bad guys stand behind civilians and you shoot through them and the people will stop letting the bad guys hide behind them. You don't make friends until the war is completely and utterly won, not one second before. That may include a tactical nuking or two. You have to take the whole will to fight out of these crazed folks. You are talking about an enemy who will not stop on their own. You have to have a "holy crap" factor to your win.

    February 15, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Joe

    KaiserSouse said: I feel bad for the civilians, but at the same time....leave when you are told a war is coming weeks in advance?

    I have to agree. Surely the Ritz Carlton Kabul had rooms available. And if not, overflow could have been routed to the Hilton. I mean come on people! If I had notice weeks before a war hit my neighborhood, I would seriously consider booking a cruise until it was all over. You betcha!

    February 15, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  30. CR

    I'm more than a little disgusted, reading through these comments. Some of you can actually believe that murdering innocent women and children are acceptable causalities of war, and in the same breath have not the humility to be ashamed, but the audacity to claim the moral high ground?

    Are we so sick as a nation that human life is so cheap? Or is it just the life of those with brown skin? Are you really so absolutely terrified, so cowardly that you believe the only way to defeat your enemy is to murder their families?

    So blind that you can't realize it's not 12 civilians murdered by rockets, but it's entire villages leveled to the ground on bad intelligence, hundreds of lives snuffed out in the blink of an eye by a US B52 bomber?

    So brain dead and stupid that you can't see this from the point of the view of the people who live in these regions? You say the word terrorist...like it's anything but a propaganda term. Like it has some intrinsic meaning. Do you know who the terrorist are in Iraq? In Afghanistan?

    It's the jack booted thugs who kick down doors in the middle of the night and drag all the men of the household into the streets and cart them off to be tortured for months without charges.

    It's the men who sit in armored vehicles and roll through towns with machine guns blazing, while small arms fire pings off it like caps.

    It's the cowards who ride into battle twenty thousand feet above any kind of resistance, and destroy entire regions from the air.

    Do you really think the "Taliban" have a monopoly on terror? What do you think the Coalition forces are using as their primary weapon? Terror.

    February 15, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  31. ivica

    afghan ministers and generals are simple desinformators. they say that marja is under control and taliban fled. it is not true. independent reports said in marja is fierce resistance andmarines gain only few hundred meters. reportes from deferent tv stations said it is resistance from many positions. afghan officials are desinformators.

    February 15, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  32. sameem habibi

    the legitimacy on Nato would go under question if they target the civilians every time they launch attack..and it's almost gone...
    but an other weird thing is that when they kill the tens of innocent people , they conclude it with a simple apology which is logical and convinceble reason or justice...
    every individual in Afghanistan is asking Nato to intercept killing innocent people...

    February 15, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Pierce

    I keep seeing the words "unfortunate" in regards to the killing of Afghan civilians. had the victims been your relatives you would not type the word "unfortunate" you'd be writing "murder" "genocide" "premeditate" all the usual words that come into play when invaders kill the local populace.

    "unfortunate" is a word for a coffee spill. Not for the spilling of civilian blood.

    Also, we use the word "unfortunate" when we think the dead were lesser human beings.
    That, sadly, is becoming the American way as we bully our way throughout the world.
    the American people are good; unfortunately its military leaders and those who help the war are also the Taliban in spirit if not in name.

    We can do better than this, my fellow Americans.

    February 15, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Jane/Seattle

    President Obama has stepped up the attacks even more than Bush. he will never get my vote again! WAR is Wrong! It kills the Innocent along with the rest. Martin Luther king, jr. had much to say on this topic as do all men of Peace. Violence solves nothing. In fact, it creates a whole new set of problems! America is not about Peace. She is about Profits!

    Tell the victims about how much you hate and want to destory the enemies you created yourselves so contractors can make more money – so taxpayers must participate with our co-opted tax dollars, as our children suffer for the riches of the Rich!

    February 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Pierce

    Didn't know civilians were in a building? In a civilian populated area?

    Let's say the Bulgarians invaded. They go to Memphis and fire into a building and kill 12 children. They didn't know civilians would be in a populated area.

    OK, we fogive you, Bulgarians!!!!

    Let's stop being occupiers and world policemen. The world does not have to be like our world and their leaders should not be like our leaders.

    That is the toughest thing we as Americans have to learn: The world does not have to be like us.

    February 15, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Tracy Marine Mom

    I am appalled at some of the comments I just read. It is easy for civilians, safe in their homes here in the United States, to judge our military and their tactics. If you are educated on the subject you would realize that this is war on terrorism and they don't wear a uniform and they do not have any rules of warfare. They don't care about human life for even their own people. Everyone is expendable. I think that our troops are doing the best they can in very bad conditions to minimize civilian casualties. If you want to talk about human casualties look at the long list of our US troops and NATO troops that have been killed in the war in Afghanistan. Several of them from IED bombs which are all over that country. To the person who said that the US troops blow everything up and ask questions later I wonder how you would feel if you were over there fighting this war and being shot at day and night and afraid to walk down every stretch of road because of the IED that are everywhere. I don't think that the Afghan government is apologizing to all of the family's who have lost loved ones in this war. I can guarantee the the US soldiers regret any loss of civilian lives which would be why the warned the townspeople in advance to get out even though the would risk the element of surprise which could lead to losing some of the major players in the Taliban.

    February 15, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Bob Ramos

    No matter how many directives the Generals put out; no matter how we try to explain and aplogzise; no matter who is really at fault, the Afghan people will always blame the USA.
    And there is simply no way to avoid collateral damage which is what the 12 deaths are.

    If the primary objective was to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people, collateral damage, even if it is unavoidable, is not the way to do it.

    February 15, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Richard

    It is sad and unfortunate, but there was plenty of advance warning given, the only people who should have been there are the taliban and their helpers, and its likely thats what was there, You'll probably ask, why are we there at all? and I'll tell you, its to remove an oppressive totallitarian regime who had no problem supporting and, I'm sure, incouraged the terrorists who on Sept 11, 2001
    without ANY WARNING OF ANY KIND, killed more than three thousand inocent people, now we're out to capture or neutralize these terrorists, and make sure their enablers ( the taliban ) are not in a position to help them again.

    February 15, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Chafic

    I am surprised at the people that think that leaflets are good enough warning. or that they should leave. what if they cannot leave? what if they were forced to stay or have nowhere to go? we are the ones in a place where we do not belong. and where do you expect their fighters to go? out in the open? of course they are going to hide amongst the civilians, that is where they live. it is not like there are 2 armys battling on a neutral ground. we are flying all the way across thousands of miles to fight them in their homes. we are not fighting them face to face. we are hiding above the clouds what choice are they left with?
    I am against all violence and all killing regardless of what you call it. we need to be fair, we do not have the moral high ground here.

    February 15, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Truce!

    Civilains not targeted...........just expendable.

    February 15, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  41. chet

    With all the power/advanced military equipment and well thought out strategies that NATO/US forces have gone into this war, fighting an enemy equipped with a vice mind and a AK47 who dont wear uniforms and has no respect for international laws of war (like being said by others here), if you did not repect the value of innnocent lives, you are no different from the enemy that you are fighting.

    February 15, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Ari

    I am curious to see if these incidents will be judged by the U.N. and the rest of the world the same way Israel was judged on similar incidents during operation Cast Led (Goldstone, War Crime prosecutions etc). My bet? Double standards all the way.

    February 15, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  43. GB, in Wash, DC

    Many were afraid to leave due to possible retaliation from the Taliban. I wonder who poses a bigger threat to them?

    In any case, 12 civilians is tragic, but nothing compared to past campaigns. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died in that war, and millions of other civilians died in wars past. When you use artillery and air support in urban areas, civilian casualties happen. I'm shocked that we didn't kill MORE people by accident.

    February 15, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Roger

    What kind of fool believes that no civilians will be harmed in a war, especially one in their own backyard? American soldiers aren't mindless thugs like the republican guard in Iran or the countless other so called armies that plunder, rape and pillage in countless countries around the world. Even the military in Mexico is as corrupt as the drug thugs they're trying to destroy. Most are bought out by the cartels. If life was fair, no American soldiers would be sent to die for some uncaring, thankless country where they are too cowardly to fight for what they want. We believe in freedom and that frightens a lot of people. A lot of people would rather snivel in chains, dancing like puppets for their cruel masters. The people of North Korea believe the the rest of the world are cruel, heartless barbarians, bent on destroying them. Would that they could taste the freedom that civilized, democratic societies have. Has anyone noticed that in our country, we don't create statues of our leaders until after they are dead or leave office. While despotic, tyrannically run countries are plastered with statues and pictures of their dictators faces while they are in power? I guess it's to remind them who the boss is. Anyone who would denigrate the willingness of the American soldier to fight for what's good and right, can go live in one of these places, you don't deserve an Americans help. Remember, only two have offered to die for you. Jesus died for your sins and the American soldier died for your freedom. Believe it!

    February 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  45. jarjar

    It's only terrorism when brown people do it.

    February 15, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Don of Iowa

    Get a life Jdog, they did not target civilians, learn to read, they targeted suspected Taliban, as it perfectly well says, if civilians are with them when targeted then civilians are perfectly good military targets and shoud die along with them, they were told to get out and stay away from the Taliabn, we cannot be responsible for stupid people!

    February 15, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Don of Iowa

    Is it any wonder why we have so many problems in the world when idiots like the one who commented
    And you wonder why they want to destroy you.

    Posted by: Spirit 1

    abound in this world. There is no way to say NO civilians will be killed when they associate with the Taliban, perhaps after 200-300 afghans die then they will stay away from and quit associating with the Taliban then they will not be targeted and die. If they are with the Taliban they are guilty by association and therefor are perfectly good military targets and deserve to die with the Taliban.

    February 15, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Richard

    This is essentially Muslims killing Muslims. It's sad but the Nato forces have killed no where near as many Muslims. Warfare has changed dramatically. The Red Coats met with ambushes etc. The stand up and fight directly style died then and now we see the most modern version of that. Hiding behind women and childern, maybe even thier own, is a no win situation for them and for us a political nightmare. Civilians will die for us to kill the enemy. But we should not grieve. The twin towers had nothing to do with fighting our military, and if we are honestly trying to kill the enemy, hiding amongst civilians will cause casualties.

    February 15, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Britt Aliperti

    With the intelligence gathering and sophistication of NATO, it is foolish to believe that the presence of civilians inside targeted buildings was unknown. Those in charge made a calculated assessment of collateral damage and determined the value of civilian Afganhi life. Unfortunately, as is often the case, innocent human life was undervalued.

    February 15, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    It's sad that civilians are caught up in the crossfire but when the enemy uses the homes of innocent people to fire on our troops we have no other recourse but to fire back. We have orders not to fire on the Taliban if we know that their are civilians in the homes and the Taliban knows this so they will continue to use the people of Marjah as human shields. This is not the way to fight a war. The families that are in these homes should get out and if the Taliban hold them as shields we should not be held responsible for their deaths if that should occur. We are at war with the Taliban and we should kill or capture them where ever they are! The people should have gotten out before we started this operation! They were warned and stayed behind anyway. They put their trust in the Taliban for their safety and now realize that they are not safe if they stay in their homes especially if the Taliban are in their homes. So they should get out if they can and help the coalition to find these animals who have no regard for life! We should not have to be worried about civilian casualties when fighting these animals it is either themselves or the Taliban that put them in danger of being killed. Change the tactics and kill the Taliban where ever they are! This is the only way to rid the country of the Taliban!

    February 15, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Eric Callicoat

    Just more of the same. The Iraquis were used as human shields in the opening days of Desert Storm. As long as we wage war with Islamic factions or anyone else we must accept that 'rules of engagment' will only apply to us.
    Why observe any reatrictions if they don't? Because it's the right thing to do. It's what makes us who we are – Americans.

    February 15, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  52. KaiserSouse

    I feel bad for the civilians, but at the same time....leave when you are told a war is coming weeks in advance?

    February 15, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  53. marcial merino

    it is incredible how worthless is human life to the usa and other western forces.in order to protect highly value soldiers lives they must blow everythimg insight just to protect them mo matter if they are woman and childern.i see no reasson for the usa to be there all they are producing more hatre in the world with their shoot first and say sorry afterward.it makes me sick to see this in the news.

    February 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Joe D.

    collateral damage unfortunatley will always be a part of war. though those poor 12 may not have deserved that death let us simply add them to the countless other un-merrited deaths...may God forgive the sins of man.

    February 15, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Paul

    They were not targenting civilians, they were just killing them.

    February 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Miles Apduhan

    Wondering when the Dems will criticize Obama...............................still waiting...................

    February 15, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Thomas

    It is always sad that Civilians are killed in any conflict on either side however, the ISAF dropped leaflets WELL in advance of their thrust into the area and warned EVERYONE to leave and have no contact with the Taliban or risk becoming stuck in the middle of the offensive. Of course, there is also the possibility that the Taliban PLACED those Civilians inside that Building knowing that they would be killed and bring this unfortunate situation to the Newsmedia.

    February 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  58. janeie

    WHY didn't they know their were civilians there? It's their JOB to know.

    February 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  59. RA DESBIENS

    Yea right American soldiers are so well trained this could never happen...haha bunch of kids playing a serious game of lfe or death and one way or another these cowboys will do anything for a little action. It seems americans are always defending an issuse like this one or friendly mishaps...quit using NATO to hide behind we all know it's Americans again.

    February 15, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  60. jdog

    civilians are never targeted specifically (most of the time, when they are they become collateral damage, nicve euphamism for "people who got murdered while in the way of some form of aggression, wrapped in teh blanket of defense")) however, targeted or not, it says nothing of teh resposibility NATO has in outright murder of completely innocent people. Nato, your justifications and excuses are sickening and wrong!!!!!!!!!

    February 15, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  61. JKF

    On the rocket fire issue- it is not an unusual situation, it is extremely unfortunate when civs get killed. Forensics need to be done at the site to establish that some of the so called civs? were not in fact fighting terrorists. In all wars involving terrorists, it is a fact, and should be clear common knowledge, that terrorists will use civilians as shields and will occupy civ houses and other civ structures to fight from. Given that the terrorists do not wear uniforms, nor do they comply with any customs/international laws of warfare/humanitarian laws- this type of wars will result in civ casualties. The tactics and operational tempo needs to be adjusted continuously to the sit on the ground- potentially a dead-end escape corridor may need to be provided, into which the terrorists can be funelled/moved into; but the most likely outcome is that the terrorists will just blend into the civ population, thus forensic evaluations of the weapons, munitions and the population will need to be carried out ASAP and results compared/ terrorists identified as the battle draws down. The Afghan forces need to be the ones tasked to carry out the house to house searches, to rspect religeous/cultural issues, with allied forces maintaining searched area perimeters sealed. The process needs to be done correctly and dilligenty; it will take 6 to 8 weeks at least. If you speed up the process too much, the terrorists will escape capture and civ casualties will be greater; conversely if you slow down the process too much, more allied casualties will take place; a methodical, adjustable tempo needs to be maintained.

    February 15, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Spirit 1

    And you wonder why they want to destroy you.

    February 15, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom

      when a suicide bomber blows up a market or a mosque, it's okay, but when americans fire back and civilians get hit, it's a huge crime.

      this is called "hypocrisy" and is a popular sport among the jihadis in afganistan; play begins when the foreign devils start apologizing.

      February 18, 2010 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  63. Ken in NC

    I am astonished at how the Afghan President can demand that civilians not be harmed when the Taliban is mixing in with the civilian population. They fire on and kill our troops and then lay down their weapons and walk away with the civilian population. I am hurt that civilians are injured or killed in a war but it is a war and this is not a war were both sides are in uniforms.

    If The President of Afghanistan is so concerned that civilians not be injured or killed, maybe we should just pack up and come home. I do not want to see them harmed either but they were warned to get out. They chose to stay so they could protect their Opium crops and defend them or to assist the Taliban. For whatever reason, they stayed after being told to leave. You gotta wonder who's side they are on along with the Afghanistan President.

    February 15, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |