April 29th, 2010
03:45 PM ET

France says troops killed 4 Afghan civilians

PARIS, France (CNN) - French troops killed four Afghan civilians during a skirmish with Taliban fighters in early April, the French military acknowledged Thursday.

The incident marks the first time the French military has confirmed its forces have killed civilians in the 8-year-old Afghan war, said Adm. Christophe Prazuck, a French military spokesman. It happened in eastern Afghanistan's Kapisa province on April 6, when French troops fired a rocket at a group of about seven Taliban fighters, Prazuck said. 

The French believed no civilians were in the area, Prazuck said. But five civilians were under a nearby tree, and four died as a result of the rocket strike. The fifth was wounded but is recovering, he said.

France is part of the U.S.-led alliance that invaded Afghanistan in 2001, after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. The allies are now trying to roll back advances by the Taliban, the Islamic militia that once ruled most of the country before the attacks and allowed the al Qaeda terrorist network to operate from its territory.

But civilian deaths at the hands of the allied forces have strained ties between the coalition and Afghanistan's government and bred resentment among many Afghans. Haji Farid, an Afghan parliament member from Kapisa province, said Western troops act "very wildly" and "do not pay respect to the Afghan people."

"In the West, they have rights for animals and birds, but they are not paying respect to human beings," he said.

"We are fed up with these words," Farid added. "Why are they killing
innocent people? No one is listening to us."

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Filed under: Civilian deaths • Taliban
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. Sarcasmo

    We have common sense in the West, too. In the event of a war, vacate the premises immediately if you don't want to get all blowed up or shot.

    It isn't rocket surgery.

    I mean, it isn't usually. In this case it kind of was.

    June 18, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rickd10

    This report must be in error! French soldiers actually firing weapons? Has to be a Foriegn Legion unit.

    June 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. pinkstar

    Will there be a Goldstone report? Or is that just for Israel?

    June 18, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. lord marshall

    civilian casualties have always happened in war,its a shame but it happens and will continue to happen,I actually cannot believe I am defending the undependable French ,but how could their soldiers have seen those civilians under a tree while fighting and firing a rocket??? Now my personal opinion about Afghanistan and Iraq and any other muslim country is just leave,let them waste each other ,its all they know anyway and if the cause us any more trouble in the future...turn their countries into parking lots ,sorry to say the truth but the only way to deal with these people is basically deadly violence....it nothing new to them....hey by the way has anyone ever heard of an actual good brave decent muslim soldier?? there are probably as many of them as there are french military victories lol

    May 4, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. davec

    The headline should read "French troops kill only four civilian."

    May 4, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chris

    "Why should we not kill civilians? if they are around where the bombs and bullets are around.... they die... tough cookies..." davonskevort

    Yes, civilians die in wars, and the Taliban and Al Queda are at war with the US, so I guess it is OK with you if they kill you?

    May 4, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. J.C.

    Civilian casulties should never been taken lightly, however they are inevitable in a war torn country like Afghanistan and if you ask the population of this country they will tell you that they are happy to have us there, thier lives are alot better with us there than without....pulling out now is totally ridiculus and an insult for those of us willing to fight for freedom.

    May 4, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. Wisconsin Dad

    Why don't you mention that they were children who were killed?

    May 3, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Spence

    No better way to continue to earn the goodwill of the Afghan people. I'm sure they are so very pleased with the situation. Can anyone really expect things to get anything but worse?

    May 3, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jay

    I don't know what people are complaining about. I understand that civilian casualties are something that most militaries attempt to avoid inflicting, but unless the combatants are in the middle of Antartica, there will always be civilians around. Nothing will change that. People can and will be either stupid enough to remain in an area that's dangerous or have the bad luck of getting caught in the random crossfire. If the people of Afghanistan are tired of innocent bystanders killed during these firefights, the solution is simple: DON'T LET PEOPLE USE YOU FOR COVER. Amazing, right? Don't let militants shoot from your backyards, your schools, mosques, or anywhere near where you live! Guess what? THEN THERE WON'T BE FIREFIGHTS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOODS. Common sense dictates that, if you're a soldier getting shot at, you shoot back. If the fire happens to be coming from a building or position near a village or something, they'll still shoot back. It's the basic "Them or us" mentality that's common for soldiers everywhere; if you keep militants and the like from your homes and streets, soldiers will have no reason to shoot at you unless provoked.

    May 3, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Martyn

    It was amusing reading most of your comments. First of all, this is war. There are rules of engagement and you can't compare a war zone to your local neighborhood. I can't believe I have to explain this. If Taliban use human beings are a shield then it's the Taliban's fault; casualty of war. I'm certain that American troops are not being respectful to the Afghan people which is disgusting. The person in the interview made a good point; we mourn our pet rabbit or dog's death and we pay our respects but we don't even do this to other human beings because they are a different ethnicity/country. Sympathy is not something you teach to soldiers. They are trained to be fighting machines in the art of combat. Sympathy will sink in once they go back home and see images of dead bodies for the rest of their lives.

    May 3, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BurkeMtn

    War is cruelty, you cannot refine it. – Gen. WT Sherman

    May 2, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. George Washington

    Funny how everyone says it's war, civilians die, get over it. Well on 911 civilians died, it's war, get over it. Don't like that do you? The only difference is one group is christians, and one group is muslim, and that makes a world of difference. As for we were not at war, well we were and if we are too dumb to know then that is our fault.

    Keep it green

    May 2, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. i'm just saying

    oh,ya even better it wasn't there government! that has to suck.

    May 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. i'm just saying

    well i'm board and doing a current event so i think ill just babble here for awial. people have to die sometime right y not at the mercy of there govenment? the world is mest up make the most of what you have not or you'll end up like these poeple. dead.

    May 2, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  16. overhere

    EMILE first.. afghani is money... stupid ass.. afghans are the people.. and let their own gods sort them out. besides i want to see you over. yeah u wouldnt last.

    May 1, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Emile Zola

    It's pathetic how people view the deaths of other people and how they come to justify, even if falsely, the deaths of other humans. It's hypocrisy to the nth degree that if people, rightfully or not, kill people here, we go after the perceived perpetrators like it was a religious cause. Our coward of cowards used to say that he spoke to God. If this is not the definition of madness, then I don't see why we have so many asylums. Most of them, one or many times claim to have spoken to God and they are not let out of the asylum until they stopped talking to God, yet, we look the other way when the retarded pervert from Crawford said that God told him to invade Iraq. Talking about some one flew over the cuckoo's nest. If we are a Christian nation, then we should behave as such. If we proclaim to be democratic, then we should always obey the law; in the good time and in the worst of times. It's during the worst of times that a true democracy should be at its best, not its worst. The indiscriminate killing of civilians in any war can't ever become acceptable, otherwise we killed a bunch of innocent nazis. We are not better than the lowest Afghani, or Iraqi. I don't recall a foot not on the Ten Commandments when stating the fifth.

    May 1, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Robb44

    Hard core right wingers will never admit it, but Iraq was the mistake that allowed Afghanistan Taliban to escape and flourish in Pakistan... where they have nukes!
    In military strategy... you never... EVER begin a second front!

    May 1, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  19. Robb44

    Even though the deaths are accidental and unfortunate, it's still an improvement to how France, the US and Britain USED to conduct war... Back in WW2, millions of civilians died on both sides. Russians killed their own civilians at times.
    Thankfully now with the advent of satellites and guided missiles, casualties are actually less. It is still unfortunate and tragic, but 5 is better than 50,000 back in the day...

    And because of technology, allied countries no longer bomb another country's forces by accident anymore. Friendly fire incidents are down drastically.

    May 1, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  20. jane

    Hello???? It's WAR.

    May 1, 2010 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  21. MIKE

    time will tell its onlt 9 years sice 9,11,01 plus you have a whole genaration of rag heads irag that havent grown up yet give it 10 ,20 years when all these war babys grow up then will see a lot more terror sleeping giant waking up now we have nuke them

    April 30, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  22. MIKE

    can i have my say

    April 30, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Miss Discipline

    War is never pretty or perfect! s*** happens! I'd like to know when the "perfect war" was ever fought and to the person who said "if these soldiers are so scared they shouldn't be there." ARE YOU KIDDING? Of course every soldier is scared, don't you think that is NORMAL?
    and to all those soldiers risking their lives over there,,,Stay safe and come home soon!

    April 30, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Jim

    Civilians are killed by Police, Law Enforcement and national Militaries worldwide on a daily basis on accident. When you're in the business of enforcing laws or securing a country in a war zone collateral damage is bound to occur. If you remember at the start of these battles they warn the civilian population an attack is about to occur in advance. If they don't GTFO of the war zone they assume the risks that come naturally when bullets are flying, tensions are high soldiers are scared and there is no law except kill or be killed. As much as I don't like the French I can't blame them for an accident that happened to civilians who refused to leave a major battle area. They knew the dangers they would face when they stayed. You do everything you can to make sure innocents aren't killed... but it still happens. It happens to all sides in EVERY WAR that man has ever waged. Get over it and get off your high horse. If you are so much better, strap on some armor, grab a gun and go try this stuff out yourself.

    April 30, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  25. SriLankan

    Interesting! When the civilians were killed in Sri Lanka in the crossfire between the LTTE terrorist organization and the Sri Lankan army, the village called Norway and the countries France, UK, USA etc made a big deal out of it. They never saw the extra casualties the Sri Lankan army suffered due to the extra precaution they had to take to minimize the civilian casualties. (They kept quiet when LTTE was killing so many civilians all over the country for that matter. AND: Norway let the LTTE supporters attach the Sri Lankan Embassy in Norway and yet capture the culprits even with the videos on TV stations recorded during the attack).

    When France, USA or UK kill civilians the rest of the world keeps quiet.

    April 30, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Archer D. Bowman

    Behruz, I'm not sure if anyone but George knew what George Bush knew when he started the Iraq war.

    I don't think too many people have the experience to respond in peaceful ways to weapons being fired at them, but it could be we could practice a little and think a little before we go shooting off our mouths with the first opinion that pops into our heads.

    BTW, I define thinking as taking the time to identify at least ten solutions to a problem before acting. And the more pressing the problem, the more important it is to sit down and think through a variety of solutions to it.

    But hey, thinking is hard work. Why do you think so few people do it?

    April 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Behruz

    George Bush started this war knowing Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. He didn't care of the fact that the war would cost 1 million lives plus hundreds of thousands injured, many of them American... and many of them innocent women and children.

    April 30, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  28. pete moss

    hey people, rick is an IDIOT – look at the evidence!

    Rick was obviously a moron loooooooooong before 9/11.........

    April 30, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  29. pete moss

    @rick –


    ..and you refer to others as sheeple!

    April 30, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  30. pete moss

    kill 'em all! let their goat-god allah sort 'em out!

    April 30, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Davec

    And Tom, what can I say? You are obviously woefully ignorant. Afghanistan does have a legitimate army and police. Rather than spending your time commenting from ignorance I encourage you to spend your time reading and thinking. Try some ginkobiloba or something. You need it.

    April 30, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Davec

    davonskevort, we – that is the Western world – do not fight wars in that way anymore. We are much more precise in our targeting. Additionally, this is a different kind of war. The enemy does not have weapons manufacturing that needs to be hit. So please do not use analogy – the weakest form of argumentation – to support your point. You ninny.

    April 30, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Davec

    Do NOT mess with France.

    April 30, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  34. davonskevort

    ok lets think back to ww2... did we not firebomb tokyo.. and dresden? Why should we not kill civilians? if they are around where the bombs and bullets are around.... they know who is who... they know when trouble is comming... they dont want to help.. and they die... tough cookies.... civilians arnt holy cows... civilians are where armys come from.

    April 30, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Tom

    Since Afganistan has no legitimate armed services of its own, aren't everybody that are killed concidered "civilian casulaties"?

    April 30, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Gill

    Maybe we need to send RUSSIA over there.
    Russia will piss on these news agency's and laugh on camera at the criticism that people are throwing at the war.
    Try picking up a rifle and going over there.
    Its a war. Yeah, its terrible that innocents are dying but its a warzone where the enemy is hiding among civilians. Its not a "typical" war where each side wheres a particular uniform.
    Blame the cowardly insurgents for hiding among the population and using IED's.

    April 30, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Gill

    I love how CNN worded this, making it look like the troops did this on purpose.
    Seriously, all the complaining that's done. Why not pick up a rifle and try fighting an enemy that hides among the civilians because they're too weak to fight our troops head on?
    If the citizens never let shit get so screwed up in the 1st place our troops wouldn't be over there in the 1st place.
    Complain about accidental collateral damage done by troops trying to protect a nation to weak to take care of itself. But they didn't complain 15 years ago when the Taliban was beheading people and raping their daughters. Seriously, get real people.
    As much as they don't want us over there our troops don't wanna be over there.
    The troops would rather be at home living it up than sweating to death in a desert with mortars over their heads and IED's one step away.
    Look at Vietnam. When US pulled out the Southern Vitenamese weren't ready to handle the North and it collapsed without us.
    News agencies please stop CONSTANTLY bashing our troops that are bleeding to give you the "freedom of press" that you use everyday.
    Those young men/women aren't over there firing bullets at the Taliban because they really want to. No one enlisted to fight cowards that hide among civilians. They enlisted for honor, comradery, pride and a better life.
    Please give our troops some dignity and stop bashing them at every turn.
    Thanks to the service of the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Get home safe to your families.

    April 30, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  38. anti-terror

    People like Farid are nothing but ingrates. Why don't they kill the Taliban themselves. Well, it's because they are cowards or are terrorist sympathizers. Our troops have occupied and are still occupying countries such as Japan, South Korea, Germany, etc, for over 60 years now. These countries have helped our country stave off the spread of totalitarianism. Our noble goals in Afghanistan is to eliminate these terrorists and unfortunately these civilians who should not be staying close to these terrorists in the first place get caught up in the melee. So they should be smart enough to get out of where there is fighting, It's just the same thing here in this country when cops are fighting gang elements.

    April 30, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  39. Rick

    911 was an inside job sheeple - look at the evidence!!

    April 30, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  40. JD

    If we pull out, the war could 10 times more likely end up on home shore. such as suicide attacks in schools, churches, stores, goverment buildings. trust me on this one we pull out we open the door for the taliban to come right in.

    April 30, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  41. Tim L.

    They gripe about a few people dieing. it is sad but look at how many civilians died in bombings in WW2 and no I am not talking about the big ones that where dropped to end the war. It's war people die, thats what wars do they kill people hopfully not civilians but sometimes it happens. Do they afgan B!tch when a Suicide bomber blows up multiple people in a market area. Well if they do they do not post it on cnn. us led forces kill less civilians they what there own nut jobs do.

    April 30, 2010 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  42. Iraq Paramedic

    MAY GOD BLESS & KEEP US ALL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 30, 2010 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  43. JHaas

    @scubababe Or why is it that American troops are called "occupiers" in Haiti when thousands of French troops have been stationed in France's former colonies in Africa for the past 50 years and no one has ever found anything weird about it.

    On the other hand, as sad as it is when civilians get killed, at least it's the first time in like forever that the French army had the upper hand in any sort of armed confrontation. If they get a taste for it, it's not unreasonable to think that France could become a capable ally. Nah just dreaming.

    April 30, 2010 at 4:53 am | Report abuse |
  44. Davec

    Killing. It's what we do.

    April 30, 2010 at 4:06 am | Report abuse |
  45. Texan76

    Listen people. The Taliban do not have a stnd up army. they hide amongst civialins because they know that we take every precaution not to kill innicent people. If they had a stand up army, the war would have been over in a month. The hide, threaten local village leaders and then they tell them that the Americans are the cause of all their problems. Most people in Afghanistan like us for the most part support us. You ought to see what the taliban does to the villages that dont bow to them. They kill almost everyone and then say the US did it. So, dont believe all that you read or see on the news. you want to know the truth, come to Afghanistan and see that truth. I can talk about the truth, because I have been there 5 times.

    April 30, 2010 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  46. Manmohan Lal

    French troops need to learn from Indian troops how to avoid killing civilians.

    and they better take good care of the 5th dude who is recovering because for sure he will come after them once on his two feet.

    April 29, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  47. kieran

    The reason people make a fuss about the U.S. and Israel is because everone else is looking for a way to besmirch our image as the good guys, to make them look better.

    April 29, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  48. kieran

    I agree. Civilians will die in war. Its happened before. It'll keep happening. War never changes. If these people are going to get freed from the Taliban sooner, then they are going to have to face it.
    Also, why do people think muslims should be wiped out? They are humans like us. The only difference is their beliefs. Agreed they are unjustifiable, but the muslims we fight are radicals that promise unlimited wealth in heaven if you die. In Christianity, you are a hero. Same with Judaism. Muslims are tempted by wealth and greed. The REAL muslim religion doesn't allow for the people to rape children and women. Men are just dominate in their religion.
    The taliban and Al-Qaeda have, in all sense, a seperate religion to gather more "soldiers" to fight "The Western Infidels" They don't realize we aren't there to convert them, but introduce a more humane way of society for them

    April 29, 2010 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  49. scubababe

    Why is it that no one makes a big deal of France accidentally killing civilians, whereas when the US or Israel accidentally kills civilians, there is all out hatred spewed from around the globe.

    April 29, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  50. jon

    it's called casulties of war, blaim the terrorists still these muslims deserve to be wiped out, they marry and rape little kids.

    April 29, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Emile Zola

    I wonder what would happen if this "accident" were to happen here. I'll bet if it was another country, it would be a nucear war. When soldiers shoot first and ask questions later, they are so scared that they shouldn't be allowed in a war zone. Now, if this would be an isolated incident, I could understand, but not when civilians, innocent civlians to super size that, are killed like it was a Nintendo game. It's time to stop this carnage. Those people have suffered enough and they, I'm sure, didn't have any thing with 9/11 or Saddam Hussein. And let's not forget that we are broke and more billions and billions to kill innocent civilians while America is burning is not the way to bring peace to this world. Regardless of what Monday morning quarterbacks say sitting at home, it's time to pull the plug off this genocide.

    April 29, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  52. ASM

    Are you guys serious? You cannot always guarantee that civilians will not be killed in war. Obviously the French troops had no idea the civilians were there. Its the taliban's fault for using civilians as human shields and you people that are posting about how we should pull out are falling right into the terrorists ploy... good job....

    April 29, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Kevin Eric Smith

    ".. after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington."

    Interesting presumption...perhaps AT THE LEAST...juxtaposition... ummm.....

    April 29, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  54. deathfromabove

    this isnt the first time, or the last time coalition troops killed innocent people.

    April 29, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  55. bailoutsos

    Sounds like it is time for coalition troops to pull out.

    April 29, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |