52 Dead in Afghanistan Wedding Procession – Bombed by US

(10:00AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Several days ago, on 6 July, an early morning wedding procession in eastern Afghanistan’s Nargarhar Region was crossing through a pass in a ridge separating two valleys when they were bombed by American planes. It was to have been a big double wedding between two families, with each family exchanging a bride and a groom. One family lived in the valley on one side of the mountain and the other family was from the valley on the opposite side.

What began as celebration ended with maybe 52 people dead, most of them women and children, and others badly injured.

BBC News

As usual, U.S. military spokespeople initially denied the story.

They claimed that Taliban insurgents had been “clearly identified” among the group. “[T]his may just be normal, typical militant propaganda,” said 1st Lieutenant Nathan Perry. Despite accounts of the wounded, including women and children, being brought to a local hospital, Captain Christian Patterson, coalition media officer, insisted: “It was not a wedding party, there were no women or children present. We have no reports of civilian casualties.”

…We took hostile fire and we returned fire,’ said Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations… He said there were no indications that the victims of the attack were part of a wedding party.”

TomDispatch

BBC’s Alastair Leithead actually traveled to the scene of the bombing attack and reports on what he found:

On a hillside high in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan there are three charred clearings where the American bombs struck.

Scattered around are chunks of twisted metal, blood stains and small fragments of sequined and brightly decorated clothes – the material Afghan brides wear on their wedding day.

After hours of driving to the village deep in the bandit country of Nangarhar’s mountains we heard time and again the terrible account of that awful day.

What began as celebration ended with maybe 52 people dead, most of them women and children, and others badly injured.

The US forces said they targeted insurgents in a strike. But from what I saw with my own eyes and heard from the many mourners, no militants were among the dead.

The entire story, with a video, is here.

This is not the first wedding party that has been bombed. We might recall after that event that it was Kimmitt denying that a different wedding party had been obliterated — in the Western Iraqi desert, near the Syrian border, in May 2004.

More than 40 people died, including children, women, musicians, and a well-known Iraqi wedding singer hired for the event. According to Rory McCarthy of the British Guardian, who interviewed some of the hospitalized survivors, 27 members of one extended family died when the jets arrived.

TomDispatch

It looks like “Taliban” has become a catch-all term for all armed resistance to the US led occupation. “Taliban” is a handy scare-word that sets off connotations with al Qaeda and 9/11. It obscures the true, more complex nature of the resistance to the on-going occupation.

But amid a well-coordinated assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai and large-scale bombings last week in the capitals of both Afghanistan and Pakistan, U.S. forces are keenly aware that they are facing an increasingly complex enemy here-what U.S. military officials now call a syndicate-composed not only of Taliban fighters but also powerful warlords who were once on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency. “You could almost describe the insurgency as having two branches,” says a senior U.S. military official here. “It’s the Taliban in the south and a ‘rainbow coalition’ in the east.”

U.S. News

Recently in eastern Afghanistan 9 Americans were killed and 15 wounded in a surprisingly strong attack by resistance forces. Monthly death tolls of NATO personnel in Afghanistan are now higher than US deaths in Iraq.

The resistance continues to gain strength precisely because of incidents like the the bombing in Nangarhar. This is inevitable when any country is occupied by force. People are seeing their families slaughtered without mercy, and without justice.

In the long run time is on their side.

22 comments

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    • Edger on July 15, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    The Soviet war in Afghanistan, also known as the Soviet-Afghan War, was a nine-year conflict involving Soviet forces supporting the Marxist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) government against the mujahideen resistance. The latter group found support from a variety of sources including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other Muslim nations in the context of the Cold War. This conflict was concurrent to the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War.

    Initially Soviet deployment of the 40th Army in Afghanistan began on August 7, 1978. The final troop withdrawal began on May 15, 1988, and ended on February 15, 1989.

    The Soviet Union collapsed two years later.

    • kj on July 15, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    love for a country, Afghanistan, that i’ve never seen and never will see.  probably adopted from the books i’ve read about people who have been there, lived there, witnessed its beauty and rubble.  Afghanistan holds almost a mythical place in my mind, a combination of the Fremen of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and the actual people who carved those now destroyed Buddhas out of the side of stone hills.  A crossroads of cultures, very much alive, very much real.

    Thanks for this news, Truong. I didn’t want to read it but I want to know it happened.

    • OPOL on July 15, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    like this one.  Who could understand this and still support such travesties?  Whoever they are, they have no business running our country.

    We deserve leaders who won’t lead us into war.

  1. Shortly, after we entered , there was a small wedding party attacked with about seven dead….and this was way before the Iraqi party where a large number were killed. Seems we can’t understand why they’d prefer to shoot off their rifles in celebration rather than buy fireworks like we do.

  2. in the 2002 attack.

    http://archives.cnn.com/2002/W

    Sorry, I’m not good with the linky stuff…I am old but not as old as McCain!

    • banger on July 15, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    …many senior military officers believe the methods we have used in Afghanistan are and were wrong. The same is true about Iraq–the U.S. has violated not only basic logic but military principles of counter-insurgency. It is also the truth that veteran policy-makers in State, CIA and Pentagon saw the writing on the all early on but professionals and those most knowledgeable about the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia have been consistently ignored (according to my information) on setting policy until relatively recently when Secretary Gates took over Defense (he does listen to professionals). So who has/had been setting policy? What forces act on the making of U.S. foreign policy? This is a question we ought to pursue since Obama has stated clearly that he intends to escalate the war in Afghanistan and threatens to go into Pakistan as well.

  3. This is from late last year, a sample:

    Our journey took us through Afghanistan, up the Shomali Plain north of the capital, Kabul. The Taliban are active in the area, so 60 Minutes hired Panjshiri mercenaries to cover our trip. The scene of the air strike is a village in the hills above Kapisa Province.

    The 60 Minutes team found the dead buried in a cornfield. It appears there were no enemy combatants. It was four generations of one family, all killed in the air strike: an 85-year-old man, four women, and four children, ranging in age from five years to seven months. One boy survived. The night of the bombing, seven-year-old Mujib happened to be staying with his uncle, Gulam Nabi.

    “Some of the bodies were missing a hand or a leg or half a head. We recognized one of them only by the clothes she was wearing,” Nabi remembers.

    From CBS News

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