NATO Strike Kills 90, Including Up to 40 Civilians

Posted: September 4, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

From Reuters:

KUNDUZ, Afghanistan (Reuters) – NATO forces in Afghanistan were investigating on Friday whether civilians were among scores of people burned to death when they carried out an air strike against two hijacked fuel tankers.

…Kunduz province Governor Mohammad Omar said as many as 90 people were feared killed, burned alive in a giant fireball.

NATO demonstrates why I don’t by the “Counterinsurgency: Now Low in Civilian Casualties!” sales pitch:

Lieutenant-Commander Christine Sidenstricker, press officer for the U.S. and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), said Afghan authorities had reported two fuel trucks hijacked. NATO aircraft spotted them on a river bank.

“After observing that only insurgents were in the area, the local ISAF commander ordered air strikes which destroyed the fuel trucks and killed a large number of insurgents,” she said.

“My brother was burned when the aircraft bombed the fuel tankers. I don’t know whether he is dead or alive,” said weeping villager Ghulam Yahya, one of dozens of relatives gathered outside Kunduz Central Hospital in the provincial capital.

AP reports that as many as 40 of the dead were civilians.

As usual:

In other news:

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates signaled on Thursday that he would be open to sending additional troops, asserting the war was not “slipping through the administration’s fingers.”

UPDATE: This story is very fluid, and the numbers quoted above are the very conservative estimates. Reports from the scene indicate that few bodies are in one piece. The health minister from Kabul indicates that “Around 200 to 250 villagers were believed to have gathered” around the trucks before the bombs fell, and the trucks were, obviously, highly combustible before hit with ordinance. I will keep updating this post throughout the day.

(Derrick Crowe is the Afghanistan blog fellow for Brave New Foundation / The Seminal. You can learn more about civilian casualties caused by the war in Afghanistan by watching Rethink Afghanistan (Part Four): Civilian Casualties, or by visiting http://rethinkafghanistan.com/blog.)

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Comments
  1. […] by NATO’s inability to admit the error for more than a month. This past week, on September 4, at least 40 civilians died when a U.S. pilot dropped ordinance on two fuel tankers surrounded by non…. In the first six months of this year, coalition forces caused more civilian deaths than the same […]

  2. sporkmaster says:

    A follow up article about this.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/as_afghanistan

    Taliban militants stole two fuel tankers late Friday that became stuck on a riverbed outside Kunduz. Villagers — either forced by the militants or enticed by offers of free fuel — gathered near the trucks, even as U.S. jets patrolled overhead.

    Also reminds me of this incident in Africa.

    MOMBASA, Kenya — The death toll rose to more than 100 people after an overturned gasoline tanker truck exploded on a Kenyan highway as looters tried to scoop up the spilled fuel, officials said Sunday.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/01/world/africa/01iht-tanker.4.19846976.html

  3. […] by NATO’s inability to admit the error for more than a month. This past week, on September 4, at least 40 civilians died when a U.S. pilot dropped ordinance on two fuel tankers surrounded by non…. In the first six months of this year, coalition forces caused more civilian deaths than the same […]

  4. sporkmaster says:

    I am not trying to discount that, but to throw out a reason why the numbers would be so high for something like this. Also I am not sure about the Afghanistan’s but the Iraqi’s have a very different view of danger and risk.

    I have seen stuff like this before but not on this level as below.

    As I come to an open area I see the outline of a mortar round. I halt the whole platoon and make the Shurits get back. I look at the mortar round for a minute. There are no wires, the contact fuse is not on it, and it has decades of rust. I conclude it is unexploded ordinance left over from the Iran-Iraq war. Before I finish the thought an Iraqi Lieutenant, Sherkoo, picks it up, slaps it against his helmet and says “Makoo Shee” ‘nothing happened’. “You Idiot” I said. Within a second he came to me and put it beside my head then the Battalion intelligence officer snaps a quick picture of us with his cell phone.

    http://www.armystrongstories.com/blogger/nathan-moore/

    But things are going ok, I have been busy with medical training this past week. My in laws are in town and enjoying time with Nathan. Getting used to everything.

    Where have you been? I mean as far as trying to talk on the internet about Iraq and Afghanistan it got ugly or no where. (Oh seems I am a war criminal too, so if you want to turn me in I am sure we can split the money 50/50)

    http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/david-zeiger-these-wars-arent-over-yet.html

    Also can you post to journey’s to smiles blog? Because for some reason I cannot. Kinda upset with him about certain things of the 25th trip to Afghanistan.

    • dcrowe says:

      I figured you weren’t trying to discount it; I just couldn’t help myself.

      The mortar on helmet knock…good lord that guy is asking for it! I think I would have passed out.

      I’ve been having one of these periods where I feel like I don’t have a free moment. I have this blog fellowship for the next two months, and it means I basically have to put something up on Afghanistan every day. Since I’m getting funding for it, I don’t feel like they can be throwaway “hey look at this article” posts, so I end up spending quite a bit of time on it in the evenings. That and my wife just had surgery, so for the couple of weeks I’ve been pretty slammed (she’s fine–nothing life-threatening).

      You’re a war criminal?! Good lord I go missing for a week and look what happens ;P

      I get that the guy whose blog you linked has very strong feelings, but you probably know how I feel about that level of rhetoric. I don’t think it helps anyone to call people war criminals when they disagree with him. There are actual war criminals in the world and throwing that term around takes the sting out of it for the people against which it should be used. That blogger’s language has zero chance of changing anyone’s mind.

      What’s got you upset at Hakim? I can get to the comment post text box, but I haven’t tried to post anything.

      FYI, WordPress still dings your comments as potential spam for some reason and puts them in the “moderate please” inbox, so if you see a delay in some of your comments, that’s why. Not sure how to fix it, otherwise.

  5. sporkmaster says:

    Not a problem , the only thing that I would like to add to that is that we should wait until everything gets looked at to see what happened. That is how stories change so much because people are in a rush to have answers right now regardless if they are correct or not.

    It is crazy, but in a way it makes things simpler. I mean it is almost borderline fatalism without the depression. The crazy thing is that if you hang around it too long you find yourself emulating it.

    So I enter the room and because of the difference in lighting I could not see anything to the point of being blind. So I am mentally going over my actions up until now. Lets see, going away from my platoon, following people I barely know, in a small room not knowing what’s in it and temporally blind. Great. If I get killed, I will never live this one down.

    http://www.armystrongstories.com/blogger/warren-andrews/house-calls/

    I can understand that feeling. I did not know that you were posting for hire. I could not do that because I could not provide a post that regularly. Also I know that this is not about Afghanistan but Iraq. The type that gives you a headache just from reading it. Also I read the groups invoved and it reads like a po0ltical love triangle. Surgery? Glad she is doing ok. Any surgery can have risks so I like to think that there is no such thing as a ‘simple’ surgery. Best wishes on her speedy recovery.

    http://masterspork.livejournal.com/180673.html

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090902/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_iraq_iranian_exiles

    Yea, who knew. Yep totally agree, The main reason that go there is I think that there is a lot of things said there are untrue.

    Well remember him (and on another blogger) talking about how it is a matter of honor that those under their roof are to be protected and no harm should come to them. So this sentence had me wondering how it will be seen by the local population.

    As we are an entirely volunteer set-up with no funding, the peacemaker volunteer has to take all responsibility over his/her own personal safety and finances for the entire trip.

    I understand the issue over money, but if you are inviting people to come there, does that not make then seen as guest under your care? Also if you cannot ensure some level of protection (Safe houses, escape routes, guides and any other way that you can get them from harms way if it becomes too dangerous) how are you going to be able to protect the rest of the country. Maybe I am looking at this wrong, but in trying to work with the local population it seems your coming in already with a handicap.

    http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog/2009/08/calling-world-peacemakers-to-the-peace-trek-in-the-great-afghan-outdoors/

    Also about wordpress seems that there was a attack recently that all users need to update their blogs.

    http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2009/09/04/old-wordpress-versions-under-attack/

  6. […] U.S. forces in Afghanistan hadn’t had enough outrage from the Afghanistan public after blowing up two fuel tanks surrounded by civilians, so they went and raided a hospital. KABUL (Reuters) – U.S. troops burst […]

  7. […] U.S. forces in Afghanistan hadn’t had enough outrage from the Afghanistan public after blowing up two fuel tanks surrounded by civilians, because the soldiers operating as part of ISAF went and raided a hospital, […]

  8. Dear Sporkmaster,‎

    I apologize if I’ve upset you in any way with the Peace Trek appeal.‎

    I’m sorry if, by saying that the 100,000 plus coalition soldiers were coming to Afghanistan ‎for war, I seemed to have implied that individual, ordinary soldiers don’t desire peace and ‎security for Afghanistan.‎

    I know you do.‎

    Warmth and peace!‎
    Hakim in Afghanistan

    PS I think the OJTS website may have some problems with the comment function

    • sporkmaster says:

      It is not really about the soldiers on this one but the idea that if your going to invite people over there one should make plans just in case if people try to come and take them hostage or worse. It is not even about violence vs non-violence. If I was in charge I would suggest having pre-planed safe houses, with escape routes and guide to lead them to safety. Also have emergency supplies in case of a necessary prolonged stay. It is all about hoping for the best and planning for the worst.

      Also by doing this you help build trust by honoring their values and expectations.

  9. […] by NATO’s inability to admit the error for more than a month. This past week, on September 4, at least 40 civilians died when a U.S. pilot dropped ordinance on two fuel tankers surrounded by non…. In the first six months of this year, coalition forces caused more civilian deaths than the same […]

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