December 30th, 2009
10:20 AM ET

Afghan panel: U.S. attack killed civilians

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) - An Afghan presidential team looking into claims of civilian deaths in a weekend U.S.-led operation said Wednesday that it has confirmed 10 deaths - all of them civilians and eight of them schoolchildren.

The result of the investigation contradicts a statement by a U.S. military official that nine people were killed in the raid in eastern Afghanistan and that they were all members of an insurgent network.

The attack took place in the Narang district of Kunar province. Asadullah Wafa, a senior adviser to President Hamid Karzai, said he talked to village elders, family members of the victims and the principal of a school in Narang. Among the victims were eight middle school and high school students, he said.

Wafa also said coalition forces did not coordinate the raid with provincial authorities.

The governor of Kunar, Said Fazelayallah, also has said that the raid killed civilians, and that it was launched without the knowledge of his officials.

Afghan demonstrators protested with banners and signs while shouting anti-U.S. slogans during a rally in Kabul on Wednesday, as shown in the photo above.

Wafa's findings and the governor's claims contradict a U.S. military official who told CNN on Tuesday that the dead were nine members of a network who had been tracked for a while for producing roadside bombs.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said the raid was a joint operation with Afghan and U.S. forces.

The U.S. military said Tuesday that it had intelligence photos proving the dead were militants.

Civilian casualties during U.S. airstrikes against Taliban targets have strained the relationship between Afghanistan and the United States.

In the first 10 months of 2009, 2,038 civilians were killed in the Afghan conflict, the United Nations said Tuesday. Of those, 70 percent were killed in insurgent attacks, and 20 percent in coalition- and Afghan army-led ones, it said.

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soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. govsks

    War is hell. People die. It is not as if we are trying to kill innocents, but it happens in war. Get real America! This aint a video game!

    January 1, 2010 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. A. Smith, Oregon

    In a war zone, civilians shouldn't wait until artillery shells drop into the neighborhood before you flee. Beyond the family and survival belongings, nothing in their home is worth their life in remaining inside of it.

    If it is a police action in Afghanistan then the security forces are going to expect civilians in and among those that are combative.

    In a war zone, you seldom count the machine guns in the enemy's hands to determine if you should lay down a concentrated return of fire.

    Hunkering down in a mud-hut or 'Afghani house' is certainly no sanctuary of safety with 500lb bombs, cannon fire and artillery rounds raining down anywhere near them. Unlike Hollywood features, if you are in the upper deck of a football stadium and a artillery round hits the 50 yard mark, you are way too close to even think you are safe.

    Clear out the friendly residents to a safe area, sweep in and remove the hostiles.

    Many American soldiers have given their lives failing to immediately determine friend or foe in a failed patrol where they were forced into a police action mode vs. a war mode.

    Clearing out the Taliban house to house is by far the most dangerous duty you can undertake on a regular basis. Many of those missions are filled by soldiers from the State of Oregon that have strong hunting instincts and skills long before they joined their military branches which is well served in such operations.

    December 31, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kat

    A. Smith wrote:

    "The residents should have the common sense to pickup and leave any area the Taliban moves into"

    Because it's just that easy hey? Could you imagine just picking up and leaving your home, your work, your family, your life?...where exactly are these people who lack "common-sense" supposed to go? And what about the elderly and those with small children?

    Your entire comment is just so unsettlingly ignorant...but typical of those who can't even begin to imagine what the innocent civilians of Afghanistan must be forced to endure on a daily basis. Your whole strategy of just bombing anywhere that contains Taliban insurgents is fine when you are sitting comfortably in your safe and secure community....but perhaps if you were forced to see the bloodied corpses of the women and children who would be left in the aftermath, you would reconsider.

    December 31, 2009 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. A. Smith, Oregon

    This is a Afghanistan War, not a police action. The residents should have the common sense to pickup and leave any area the Taliban moves into. The troops should be allowed to bomb any area filled with Taliban troops, not wait for the Taliban to slowly filter out of a given area.

    Why isn't America napalming each and every Opium Field it can in Afghanistan? I've been told the CIA ordered American and its Allied Military Commanders hand's off the Opium Fields!

    Flooding Russia with cheap Heroin is not worth a single America soldiers life, America should give the CIA a old fashion butt stomping. Billions of dollars from those Opium fields places arms and ammo directly into the hands of the Taliban fighters, cut off that major flow of income to the Taliban!

    December 30, 2009 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. M. Ryan

    I am so very sorry when a life is taken. I would like to see the people that want to be there, to help train the Afgan is contractors. It would be cheeper to pay them to help the Afgan country and get out and to see the fruit of their labor. Our US military are the best in the world, but do not train as well as professionals do for a living. We did it in Iraq and it is a sucess. I hope we do the same in Afgan region to make that country stable and have law and order as we enjoy here in America. God Bless

    December 30, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike Lake

    War is hell! The Afgan people do not want democracy and they do not want us there. The fat cats in their government want us there. Not really us, just our money to line their pockets with. If the Afgan people wanted freedom they would pick up arms and fight for their country and their rights. They do not care! Why should we!! I am a Vietnam vet and nothing has changed. Who appointed us the world saviours!! We all know that we get the government we deserve. Well they are getting what they deserve. Time to ignore the war mongers in our government and the rest of the world and bring all our troops home.

    December 30, 2009 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. steven

    End the war in Afghanistan now!

    December 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tim

    arun, what i am saying is this the Afgan people most I would say dont want us there. Fine instead of complaining of the U.S. Military and other countries to leave afganistan. Go to the proper authorities if they can be trusted and say hey we know where the taliban are hiding. I am not saying go up to a soldier and say they are here. there are proper steps to take. It is sad that women and children are killed. The taliban say they are fierce fighters. fierce fighters dont hide out in the middle of a populate area and fire at military targets. then say oh no they are wrong we wasnt there they just like killing innocent people. Down with the unholy american scum. I work with a lot of muslim people from pakistan, iraq etc.. They cant explain to me why the hatred for us is there no more than I can explain the hate groups in the usa, neo-nazi, kkk etc.. Oh!! Yes I can they are Ignorant, stupid shallow minded idiots, that would have a clue if it kicked them in the behind. stop the hate = peace for the most part.

    December 30, 2009 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Arun Varughese

    Wow. I can't believe that people still think that If the Afgan people work with the US soldiers to find the terrorists then everything will be all "peechy". Thats not the truth. Imagine the relationship between US soldiers and the Afgan civilians is, probally not a very open relationship. Afgan citizen can't just walk up to the US soldiers and offer a helping hand. Im sure US soldiers consider everyone a terrorist, and make inappropriate comments about the Afgan people. These killings of innocent kids show how media or the american government can write anything they want. for all we know US soldiers may not have even killed 1 legit terrorist (unlikely). This is the reason why soldiers have post-traumatic stress and s#$% from war. They know they ruined families and when they return from war, tthey finally get the chance to sit back and realize the true evil of the actions. Its an unfortunate cycle we have gotten ourselves into. Don't believe everything you hear, read, or even see.

    December 30, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sib

    These terrorist are animals. We would not be there in the first place if they treated the citizens decently.

    They are the perfect example of keeping the population illiterate to control the country.

    All they do is preach war, hate, women are sub humans etc, all in the name of the Koran.

    Honestly, everything is a holy war, jihad this, jihad that, in truth the taliban are cowards that hide in holes afraid to take part in this holy war, sending children strapped with bombs instead.

    True, we may never beat them at the game they are playing and the result will be them living like animals for the long term.

    If starving and sedition they way of life they have chosen, so be it.

    December 30, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tim

    Well it is unfortunate if kids where killed. My sympothy goes out to the families. To the protesters, the killing of innocent people will stop once they start handing over the taliban and al-queda. What they dont understand is we dont want to be there any more than they want us to be. If they would help weed out the terrorist cells then the sooner we get out of their country. In time of war it is hard at times to determine who is friend and who is a foe. I really dont think we will ever get rid of the terrorist groups completely because, they start corrupting young minds of kids to hate. Just as the hate groups in the U.S. do. Life goes on. Until everyside stops the hate and the killings, there is no hope for peace. We just need to say ok you dont like us that is fine. you stay on your side of the pond and we will do the same. we can agree to disagree but come to a common ground. Terrorist and hate groups dont care who they kill, just as long as some one is dead and they can praise themselves for a job well done. I would guess to most of the protesters are linked to terrorist cells. feed the fire baby, just keep it going. Happy New Year everyone.

    December 30, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |