The two young teenaged sons of Rahmatullah Rahmat, of Khost, Afghanistan, were coming home from playing volleyball on the spring day in April, when they were killed by NATO forces which mistook them for “insurgents” as they drove towards them.
NATO has apologized for the deaths.
All of the victims were unarmed, and died at the scene after failing to respond to warning shots.
Mr. Rahmat, who is called Rahnatullah Mansour in another story, also has 2 brothers who lost sons in the tragedy.
“Nobody can imagine what is going on in my family”
Mansour said that the victims in Monday’s shooting were his sons Faizullah, 13, and Nasratullah, 17; and nephews Maiwand and Amirullah, both 18. He said all were students except Amirullah, who was a police officer.
NATO originally claimed that 2 of the deceased were insurgents whose fingerprints were in a biometric database, but have backed away from that.
It added that the presence of their fingerprints in the database “has not yet been determined to be relevant to the incident on Monday night,” ISAF said.
“We sincerely regret this tragic loss of life,” it quoted Major General Mike Regner, deputy chief of staff for joint operations, as saying.
Training is supposed to begin soon to help prevent further incidents.
In the southern province of Kandahar, where the next NATO large scale, “terrorist purging” activity is going to go, the situation amongst the civilians is getting grimmer as the time approaches. The vice mayor of Kandahar, who was known for being a good man who was not corrupt, was recently gunned down in a mosque. An 18 year old Afghan woman was murdered right outside a U.S. Development Alternatives International office. Nida Khayani, a woman lawmaker from the north, barely survived an assassination attempt. http://www.undispatch.com/node…
As a result, roads are now shut and the drab march of blast barriers has begun. It is just one sign that things are getting worse. Foreigners cannot walk down the street or stop in the bazaar to gauge the local climate. Meetings invariably take place in private rooms deep inside fortified compounds. Yet for some reason, Kandaharis continue to risk talking to journalists in the knowledge that what they say might get them killed.
Nor is it just the Taliban who are the problem. Criminal syndicates wage their own terror campaign, allegedly killing business rivals, upstarts and those who speak out against them. The deaths of several prominent campaigners, such as the women’s rights advocate Sitara Ackakzai, have been unofficially linked to the mafia rather than the Taliban.
…. “You can’t say anything about these guys. The government is involved with them.”
As NATO gets ready to go in, the real insurgents have been busy planting landmines everywhere. Since Kandahar is an agricultural province, this helps ruin the ability of farmers to be able to grow crops.
The Canadians have been busy trying to get rid of various military hardware, including landmines, and suffered serious losses to a demining team on April 11th.
This is a statement from their government:
“Canada vehemently condemns the violent attacks that occurred on a team working for the Demining Agency for Afghanistan in Kandahar on April 11th which resulted in the deaths of four deminers and injuring 17 more.
“Deminers play a vital, yet often overlooked role in Afghanistan. They risk life and limb to remove the thousands of landmines that litter this country, making the land available for use once more.
“Deminers, and all NGO workers, put their own lives at risk every day to ensure the safety of Afghanistan’s communities. Their efforts mean that children have a place to play, farmers have fields to sow and Afghans can move more safely across this land.”
“On behalf of all Canadians, I extend our deepest sympathies to those who were injured and condolences to the friends and families of those who were killed in this terrible attack.
There were still an estimated 10 to 20 million landmines in the ground of Afghanistan in the 1990’s.
A sobering history of how 30 years of war destroyed farming for food and replaced it with farming for poppies for cash can be found here in this March 2010 article by history professor Alfred McCoy of the Univ of Wisconsin at Madison:
The Opium wars in Afghanistan
To understand the Afghan War, one basic point must be grasped: in poor nations with weak state services, agriculture is the foundation for all politics, binding villagers to the government or warlords or rebels. The ultimate aim of counterinsurgency strategy is always to establish the state’s authority.
“We can’t keep on doing business as usual,” one senior Afghan official said. (quote from the first WAPO link)
It remains to be seen if somebody working for Gen. McChrystal can come up with a universal translation of “STOP THE CAR HERE NOW” which makes sense to people who are expecting to get killed if they do stop.