Civilian Deaths and Casualties from
U.S. Attacks Are Increasing: Bomb from Lower Altitudes!
October 13, 2001
Confirmed reports of
civilians being killed and injured in Afghanistan by U.S. bombs are
- Four Afghan civilians who
worked for a U.N.-supported mine-clearing program were killed
by an errant U.S. bomb or missile. The apparent target was a radio
tower nearby, which had not been used for the last decade
- An FA-18 fighter-bomber
from an aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea mistakenly dropped a 2000
lb. bomb on a residential neighborhood in Kabul. Preliminary reports
said four people were killed and eight wounded. The target was a
military helicopter at the Kabul airport, one mile away. Another
that the bomb missed its target by a mile because a targeting coordinate
was entered incorrectly into the bomb's satellite navigation system.
- American bombers hit
a village in the hills of eastern Afghanistan, with dozens of civilians
apparently killed. The assumed target was a guerrilla training
camp nearby that villagers said had been closed for several years.
Even the mainstream U.S.
press has noted
that these episodes
are especially troublesome
for Washington, which has tried to convey the message that its attacks
against the Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban regime that shelters
it are not aimed at the Afghan people or the Islamic world.
Civilian Deaths Cause
Anger at United States
The people being killed, or
more accurately, the survivors of such mistaken attacks, are apparently not
going to distinguish between deaths from accidents and deaths from
deliberate attacks. As The New York Times reports:
Maulvi Abdullah Haijazi, an
elder from a nearby village, had come to assist. "These people don't
support the Taliban," he said. "They always say the Taliban are
doing this or that and they don't like it.
"But now they will all
fight the Americans. We pray to Allah that we have American soldiers to
kill. These bombs from the sky we cannot fight."
This assessment is echoed
by a commander in the Northern Alliance, a U.S. ally, referring to the
bombing of the houses in Kabul:
Haji Qadir, a commander in
the Northern Alliance in the southern part of Afghanistan... said the
incident had undercut support for the American war effort among the Afghan
people. "If the American infantry comes, I think the people will be
against them," he said in a telephone interview from Afghanistan.
The U.S. military has bragged
that it now owns the skies over Afghanistan. Maybe the time has come
to stop high-altitude bombing near civilians and have the pilots venture
lower so they can see what they are bombing, and thus ensure they only hit
If the U.S. continues to
cause civilian deaths in an effort to keep our military pilots out of harm's
way, that course of action could well cause us to lose some of our moral
high ground in this conflict in the eyes of much of the world.
It would certainly do so in