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Red Cross says dozens died in Afghan air strikes

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Joint U.S.-Afghan investigation launched; Taliban accused of using civilians as human shields ...Read the full article

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  1. F.T. Ward from Canada writes: To use human shields you have to tell your enemy you have them. One hopes if the Taliban told NATO it was holding hostages then the air strike would be called off. If the Taliban are holding civilians captives secretly so as to discredit NATO when the inevitable airstrike comes it would seem NATO should stop bombing buildings as a matter of policy. Bombing and shelling buildings is clearly doing more harm than good and should be stopped.
  2. joe q. taxpayer from Canada writes: F.T.Ward, they are not using human shields as protection, they are using them as propaganda tools. By claiming the air strikes are killing civilians (and they are), they are hoping to elicit sympathy from the bleeding hearts in the western countries. This is the same that the Hamas have done to great effectiveness against Isreal. One cannot deny that the tactic works to a certain degree, however it does not hide the fact that they are bullys and cowards and will do anything to regain control of Afghanistan
  3. Greg Barteluk from Canada writes: Using human shields is a war crime. However, you won't hear a single voice on the left criticizing the Taliban for their crimes.
  4. F.T. Ward from Canada writes: Joe Q. My point was I don't think they were used as human shields. The police chief said they had used hostages as human shields and I hope he's wrong. As to holding them to intentionally be killed by NATO for propaganda....I'm not sure. It would seem that to do so some Taliban would have to guard them and also be killed. It could be true or a clever excuse for the civilian deaths. Are we sure that the Taliban weren't from that village? Do you trust the police chief to give a truthful version of events?

    The Taliban are the enemy and should be crushed but I don't see how people armed with small arms and RPGs who fight against NATO airpower can be called cowards. Can you imagine a NATO military going off to fight under similar circumstances? Most NATO countries aren't keen on fighting with a massive firepower disparity in their favour let alone on a level field.
  5. George Nikitin from Hamilton, Canada writes: Greg Barteluk: It's easier to excuse the crimes of a man defending his home than those of a clumsy foreign invader, n'est pas?
  6. Earl Street from Petawawa, Canada writes: George Nikitin from Hamilton, Canada writes: Greg Barteluk: It's easier to excuse the crimes of a man defending his home than those of a clumsy foreign invader
    ------------------------------------
    A man defending his home would not fight from it against overwhelming firepower. A man defending his home would take the fight away from his home, in hope it would remain safe.

    Its been reported repeatedly. Taliban fighters herd villagers into certain buildings and then fight from those same buildings.

    The Taliban choose the ground from which they fight, be sure they do not fight from ground where the support for them is high.
  7. George Nikitin from Hamilton, Canada writes: Earl Street: I gather the locals want peace, and the end of the day, they don't care who provides it. BTW what is Canada's interest in A-stan? Dubiously redeemable brownie points with our 'friendly' neighbour to the south? Are we making any friends overseas by blood shed? Not really worth our blood and treasure is it? Maybe if we kill enough of the locals the country can be made safe for 'democracy' so our rich guys can go an make money there.
  8. Mark Shore from Ottawa, Canada writes: Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who, as Monty Python put it, but look on the bright side.

    Sure, once again a few dozen women and children may have been shredded into hamburger by indiscriminate US air power, but the important thing is that they were enjoying the freedom and democracy we brought them right up to their final seconds.
  9. Boreal Moose from Canada writes: Earl Street from Petawawa, Canada writes: A man defending his home would not fight from it against overwhelming firepower. A man defending his home would take the fight away from his home, in hope it would remain safe.

    _________________________

    He could if he lived in a rich country, where his army is conveniently always defending itself on other peoples' land. But when you're poor and the villages in which you have lived for thousands of years are the battleground....a little tougher. I do hope you're not one of those Petawawa wannabes who suggest the Taliban are wimps for not giving the Marine Corps and the PPCLI a `standup' fight? The Taliban are many bad things, but they are not stupid in war.
    Perhaps when NATO troops agree to give up night vision and fighter-bombers and tanks and mobile medical units and space age flak jackets and armour plated everything and give up all of their advantages.....maybe they'd get a standup fight. Given what they accomplished against the Soviets....
  10. Dik Coates from Canada writes: It's easy to re-label 'collateral damage' to 'human shields' when you own those in authority as well as the newspapers....

    Catch the BBC write-up, 'The Red Cross says air strikes by US forces in Afghanistan on Tuesday are now thought to have killed dozens of civilians including women and children.

    It says civilians were sheltering from fighting in the western province of Farah when their houses were struck.', of the same incident.

    I suspected with the surge that the number of innocent civilians to be murdered would increase by 10x.

    Dik
  11. Gilles Hudicourt from Canada writes: And remember that the ones responsible, time and time again, for the widespread killing of thousands civilians with irresponsible airstrikes and shelling are Canada's allies.

    We are the ones who, out of fear of fighting the Taliban man to man, for we could get killed doing that, prefer to send in bombers to kill them along with countless women and children.

    And yet we call the Taliban cowards? This is a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    How many times is this going to happen again? How many times will Karzai, the so-called democratically elected President be unable to stop NATO bombings in his own country, no matter how clearly and how often he calls for these bombings to stop.

    Lets be honest. Would such bombings be tolerated in Europe in order to wipe out an insurgency? Could it occur in the Basque country, or in Northern Ireland? This is a pure case of racist colonialism and Canada is in it it its neck.
  12. Ted Arnold from Canada writes:
    STOP KILLING CIVILIANS!
    END THE OCCUPATION!
    ALL FOREIGN TROOPS OUT NOW!
  13. Jack L from Oakville, Canada writes: Every single time when civilians are killed by the US led air strike, same excuse comes out. 'Taliban is using civlians as human shield'.
  14. Malone Sumself from Canada writes: Why didn't I see any of these same posters yelling RESTORE HUMAN RIGHTS IN PAKISTAN last week when the articles around the taliban influence were front and centre. Two hundred schools blown up, girls threatened with death if they attend school, women locked in their homes = and no screaming in capital letters from the Canadian Bleeding Hearts Club. People speaking above in ignorance of fighting the taliban hand to hand -- think suicide bombs you reterds. Think road side devices - hand to hand - what have you been reading for the last four years ? Put away your soundbites and wake up - the world is a very unfair place and while you hide in the safety of Canada, others are waiting for you to help.
  15. Serenity Now from Canada writes: If the human shield thing can be verified, then sadly there is not much we can do. BUT it has to be carefully evaluated as this excuse for missing the target is often used.
  16. Dik Coates from Canada writes: Malone... no comments about the recent law changes in the democratic republic of Afghanistan? and the PM using the excuse... he didn't read the legislation. See what happens when you democratically appoint a leader!

    Dik
  17. Dik Coates from Canada writes: Serenity... I would suggest the International Red Cross is about as independent as you will likely get.

    Dik
  18. Gilles Hudicourt from Canada writes: Malone Sumself, the answer is simple: the Taliban are not our allies, but the US who performs these bombings and killing are, so in a sence, the kilings of civilians are done in Canada's name. The atrocities that the Taliban do are not done in Canada's name.

    Big difference to me.
  19. Mick Mallon from Iqaluit, Canada writes: Forty-five years ago I was living in Sarawak, Malaysia, during an undeclared war with Indonesia that inolved lots of jungle encounters. Years later, I saw a television interview with the British minister of those days. He said, 'The R.A.F. kept urging me to use their bombers instead of plunging soldiers into long messy and dangerous patrols into the jungle. 'Our planes,' they said, 'can do the job neatly, precisely and surgically.' I never let them do it. When you use bombers you kill civilians, and when you kill civilians you lose the support of the people.'

    But that's ancient history, isn't it?

    Mick Mallon, Iqaluit
  20. Jan Burton from Toronto, Canada writes: In all likelyhood both extreme interpretations of this incident are false.

    I imagine the Taliban were not holding these people as 'human shields' but rather that the people were simply caught up in the fighting. After all, when your home is located in a war zone, you're more likely to be killed - a reality that doesn't require anyone using you as a shield.

    As for NATO, I'm sure the intent of the bombing was not to kill civilians - that would hardly be in NATO's favour. But in a chaotic war zone, you fire on where you think the enemy is. And when the enemy's in a village innocent people are gonna die.

    It's always been the case. Thousands of civilians died in allied bombardments in Western Europe. But there was a point to that. It was a price worth paying in order to drive out the Nazis.

    So the question should be: is there a point to incidents like these?

    Is the situation in Afghanistan ever going to be 'worth' the loss of civilian, as well as military, lives? Even if we defeat the Taliban (and that's a big if) is the alternative ever going to worth the struggle?

    I'd say no. Afghanistan will be a hellhole no matter who is in charge.
  21. jeff w from North York, Canada writes: Most of the comments deeply sicken me on this news piece.

    Without mentioning names, I get a 'tone' from some of you such as:

    ~they used human shields, too bad so sad
    ~dying while enjoying their freedom, they are lucky we're there
    ~among the dead were a few taliban hiding with women and children

    If that is the tone Canadians are protraying, then today, I must say, I am NOT PROUD to be Canadian. I wonder how many other cases of murder, bombing errors, torture were NOT verified by international agencies???

    I seriously wonder why some of you still support this War overseas? I question your faith. I wonder which country will be next? I wonder how other countries see this news.

    You teach your kids violence does not solve problems. Think about this.
  22. Richard O'Connell from Melbourne beach, United States writes: No one wants to see civilians killed, but in war it happens. The thing that bothers me is Karzi carrying on about it while never saying anything about the Taliban. When NATO kills civilians it is by mistake, when the Taliban does it it is on purpose, Iwould like to see more outrage from Karzi about the Taliban, targeting and killing civilians, which they do on a daily basis.
  23. jeff w from North York, Canada writes: .
    .
    RE: Jan Burton

    As for NATO, I'm sure the intent of the bombing was not to kill civilians - that would hardly be in NATO's favour. But in a chaotic war zone, you fire on where you think the enemy is. And when the enemy's in a village innocent people are gonna die.
    ---------------------------------------

    Jan, we're in 2009, humans are suppose to evolve. You cannot compare WWII with Afghan. You should be comparing Afghan/Iraq to Vietnam. I don't think anyone on Earth would agree with you that the Vietnam war was a just cause.

    So are Canadians in Afghan to free the women? Curb terrorism? or secure resources?

    Afghan has NOT invaded any country.
    Iraq HAD no weapons of mass destruction.

    So what if Bin Ladin is found to be hiding in Iran, do you agree NATO to invade Iran? or is Pakistan next?

    Britain has pulled out.
    China is trying to commence infrastructure contracts with Afghan.

    What is Canada doing?
  24. Another vicious kick right in the face from Orwell's Ghost, writes: Red Cross says dozens died in Afghan air strikes

    ??? Does Afghanistan have an airforce???
  25. Another vicious kick right in the face from Orwell's Ghost, writes: Greg Barteluk from Canada writes: Using human shields is a war crime. However, you won't hear a single voice on the left criticizing the Taliban for their crimes.

    ========================

    Speaking as a centrist, why do people on the right often demand that people on the left should belabour the obvious? It seems a bit silly.
  26. Another vicious kick right in the face from Orwell's Ghost, writes: Richard O'Connell from Melbourne beach, United States writes: No one wants to see civilians killed, but in war it happens.

    ==============

    Hmmm -- so then ... maybe ... war is... not such a good thing.

    Whoa.
  27. Jan Burton from Toronto, Canada writes: jeff w from North York, Canada writes: .

    'Jan, we're in 2009, humans are suppose to evolve. You cannot compare WWII with Afghan. You should be comparing Afghan/Iraq to Vietnam.'

    --------------

    My point, Jeff, was that even in the most moral and just causes, civilians die in war. It's unavoidable.

    There are two extremes when it comes to civilian deaths - those who don't care how many die and those who think ONE is too many. Both positions are idiotic.

    I say judge the war in Afghanistan based on what can be achieved through military action. I don't see much of anything, thus it's time to leave.

    But speaking of Vietnam, would you also agree that the Korean War was an unjust cause? After all, in Vietnam 3.4 million died in roughly 15 years, while the Korean War killed 3 million in only 3 years.

    The big difference? In Korea the US and her allies achieved something - they saved the south from being overrun by the north, and we see the legacy of that today. Had the US won in Vietnam we might very well be judging that conflict differently today.

    Hate to say it, but history largely comes down to one thing: do the ends justify the means?
  28. jeff w from North York, Canada writes: Well, I thought we live in a country that allows us to choose. I find it frustarating that many Canadians do not want war in Middle East, yet we're still there.

    I do see your point about South Korea.

    I simply feel the more you provoke the Middle East, the harder they bite back...I can imagine kids growing up there hating Western Nations bitterly, and this freaks me out. I don't see the Taliban bothering Japan, China, Korea, etc which makes me question, shouldn't we just LEAVE THEM ALONE!
  29. Zando Lee from Vancouver, Canada writes: ...yep....winning the hearts and minds....one corpse at a time....
  30. The Work Farce from Canada writes: Let's face it. The efficient US War Machine invading a foreign country doesn't discriminate between combatants, civilians and allies. It kills everything in its path. What counts is the high body count. It's criminal, it's racist and it's cowardly. It's civilians who are the largest numbers of dead in every war since guys started throwing bombs from airplanes 20,000 feet up in the sky. Does anyone remember that several thousand Afghan civilains were killed and thousands more made homeless refugees in the bombing of al Quaeda and the Taliban back in 2001? When you want to conquer and colonize a country you need to terrorize the entire population into submission with your firepower and worry about winning their hearts and minds only when the entire population is pacified. That's why wars of imperialist colonization go on for decades. And so often result in civil wars, because there will always be some who will collaborate and some who will fight back. Canada should never ever get involved in dirty little wars like this.
  31. Did you Know Canada?!? from Canada writes: Question for the Afghanistan anti-war posters here:

    Is it ok for Russia, Iran, China or Pakistan to have influence over this strategic location? These rogue states will have very strong influence over the oil pipelines and pharmaceutical drug trade. That is our world's big piece of the economy pie.

    Do you know that if NATO leaves then one of the other super powers will try to sneak in?

    I don't know about you guys but I would trust the West with Afghanistan than any other rogue states.
  32. Zando Lee from Vancouver, Canada writes: ....other news agencies put the death toll at over 100, including a Red Cross worker....it behooves repeating that a 'smart' bomb fired by an idiot, doesn't behave very smart....
  33. Dave AAAA from Canada writes: Jeff I'm sure you are a really nice caring guy with good intentions, but surely you don't honestly believe that all people think and act like you. There are people on this planet who would slit your throat to get your watch, others would sell their children, or simply kill infidels because of religious hatred.

    The point is that showering them with love or even simply leaving them alone will not change their ideology. Is war the perfect answer? Absolutely not, but it's the best option we have to ensure that the violence do not occur on our soil. Frankly, I’m ok with that.

    Finally, if you are a real humanitarian then what do you suggest that we do to help the unfortunate people living under their rule. Leave them alone ...out of sight out of mind?
  34. Greg Barteluk from Canada writes: George Nikitin from Hamilton believes that war crimes can be excused. I do not.
  35. Comments closed, censored, hidden, deleted, disappeared from Obamatieff's village, Canada writes: Winning hearts and minds at an accelerated pace, hoping insanely that more of the same will produce different results. -- Learning remaining beyond one's grasp! --- And soon the refugees...... by thousands, by tens of thousands, women, children and old people. --- Is that what Obamaism is about? Sounds familiar to me...
  36. jeff w from North York, Canada writes: ...........................
    Is it ok for Russia, Iran, China or Pakistan to have influence over this strategic location? These rogue states will have very strong influence over the oil pipelines and pharmaceutical drug trade. That is our world's big piece of the economy pie.
    ...........................

    Iran has been around since antiquity, China's withstood the test of thousands of years. Russia is a superpower, who can over-run Canada in a week. Who the hell are you calling these countries 'rogue'? Are you dumb or something? You are no different than those Taliban.

    ..........................
    Dave AAAA
    ..........................
    I am fully aware we live in a dog-eat-dog world. I just really hate the idea that the 'West' maybe involved in a never-ending crusade in the Middle East. Some think 30 years.

    How do you think Afghan should react to foreign troops coming in with guns and bombs? I always put myself in the others shoes. I'm sure you Dave AAAA will fight just like them.

    Let's see what happens to Britain, they've pulled out. I don't see why we shouldn't follow suit.
  37. Red-necked and persecuted from Canada writes: When collateral damage, as it's called, occurred under George Bush, it was called criminal. Under Obama it's just an acceptable byproduct I'm sure.
  38. Mark Shore from Ottawa, Canada writes: Did you know Canada?!? writes: 'Is it ok for Russia, Iran, China or Pakistan to have influence over this strategic location?'

    Well, Pakistan and Iran do border on Afghanistan for one. And not really sure ultra-cautious China fits into the rogue state category. And finally, last I looked Canada was in the north half of North America. How exactly are the political affairs of a backwards land-locked western Asian country our concern?
  39. Dave AAAA from Canada writes: The difference Jeff is that I'm not likely plan or support any unprovoked terrorist attacks out of pure hatred. And likewise, it is unlikely that that I would support any government who believes in oppressing women and undemocratic values.

    Preach all you want, but sometimes these actions are necessary.
  40. Jan Burton from Toronto, Canada writes: Did you Know Canada?!? from Canada writes: Question for the Afghanistan anti-war posters here:

    Is it ok for Russia, Iran, China or Pakistan to have influence over this strategic location? These rogue states will have very strong influence over the oil pipelines and pharmaceutical drug trade. That is our world's big piece of the economy pie.

    ---------------

    Well I'd say those countries have a better case for having fluence in Afghanistan than the US does.

    After all, at least Russia, Iran, China and Pakistan BORDER Afghanistan.
  41. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: There are two versions of this story - one is that two buildings used as shelter by women, children and the elderly were bombed. The other is that the Afghans were using civilians as human shields - something that have often done at the point of a gun. They like to see civilians killed in circumstances like these because it does wonders for their media campaign - and anyone with half a brain recognizes that they are running one.

    It is the Taliban who have avoided direct confrontations with CF troops. They have tried to draw CF troops into areas where civilians would be killed but the Canadians have opted to withdraw and choose another way/day to deal with them. Tarring the CF with American actions is not helpful.

    BTW Although the UK are withdrawing most of their troops from Iraq they are sending an additional 900 troops to Afghanistan to help with securing the area in preparation for the fall election.
  42. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes:

    In the US/NATO information office...

    "Oh my god, we just bombed a village and killed a hundred innocent civilians! Women and children died by the score!"

    "Okay, okay, calm down. Take it step by step. First, deploy the APHSE.(All-Purpose Human Shield Excuse)

    "Which one? The 'Taliban were believed to have been using human shields,' or the 'Human rights experts point to the fact that the Taliban are known to use human shields.'?

    "Go with the last one, it's more general. We still haven't paid off a 'witness' yet who saw it."

    "Check. And should I say we'll investigate?"

    "Of course we'll investigate! To find a 'witness' desperate for money."

    "But if we haven't investigated yet, should we be claiming the Taliban were using human shields? What idiot would believe that?"

    "You're new at this game, aren't you son?"

    "Right, right... I'm just a little rattled here. So, once our thorough and ongoing investigation discovers that we didn't do it and/or it was all a mistake caused by bad/intelligence and/or the evil Taliban were using human shields, should I say we'll compensate the victims?"

    "Are you out of your mind? There's over a hundred of 'em! It would cost a fortune. Just go with the UNTAPP."

    "US/NATO Forces Take All Possible Precautions, etc, etc?"

    "Right. Don't say a word about compensation and get that out to the media pronto."

    "Yes sir!"
  43. Thomas Morris from New York, NY, United States writes: Hillary said she was "really, really sorry". That seems to be good enough for our liberal media.
  44. F H from Ottawa, Canada writes: Sometimes 'human shields' are simply the families of the Talibani. Whenever you use an air strike you take the change of 'collateral damage' as by it's very nature, air strikes are inprecise. Let's remember the Canadian soldiers who were slaughtered in an American airstrike. If they CAN'T be made precise, then they should be stopped. To not do so, is to give an enormous recruiting tool to the Taliban and Al-Quaeda.
  45. Steve is a warmongering neanderthal and loving it! from Canada writes:

    Islamos with human shields?
    Say it isn't so???
  46. Comments closed, censored, hidden, deleted, disappeared from Obamatieff's village, Canada writes: "Human shields! --- The excuse in Palestine, in Lebanon, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan.... Getting very good at it.... "They like to see civilians killed..." ---- Can't have a more abominable, unsubstantiated, reiterated, xenophobic comment than that!
  47. Earl Street from Petawawa, Canada writes: Boreal Moose from Canada writes: But when you're poor and the villages in which you have lived for thousands of years are the battleground....a little tougher. I do hope you're not one of those Petawawa wannabes who suggest the Taliban are wimps for not giving the Marine Corps and the PPCLI a `standup' fight? The Taliban are many bad things, but they are not stupid in war.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    No, I am not one of the "Petawawa wannabes" (whomever you might think that might be) but one who has been in a stand up fight with the Taliban. I do not dismiss their will to fight. Also, if you are going to do a gunfight to the death, you'd be an idiot to "fight fair".

    But explain to me why in some villages (like in the Panjwaii district) the Taliban will hustle the women and children(WaCs) out as we approach, and in other villages they hide all the WaCs in compounds from which they subsequently fire at us from?

    Richard, you have many answers. Take a shot at that question as well....
  48. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: The Taliban have avoided many direct confrontations with the CF, preferring IEDs, ambushes and suicide bombers - because they usually get their butts kicked if the go head to head with the CF. Their efforts to lure the CF into areas where there are civilians usually fail as well - the CF are not that stupid - they just look for a different approach. I though it was a hoot when they used a Taliban tactic and went in under cover of darkness and surprised the Taliban by being there in the morning - apparently in response to villages complaining about the Taliban coming during the night to loot, threaten and punish.
    Kandahar City is key to their objective of regaining control and from day one the Taliban have been worried about how the CF/PRT have been operating - moving around a lot and interacting with the locals in the province. Given the number of tasks, and the limited troops on the ground in 2005 it was quite a challenge that demonstrated the ability of the CF to adapt to change.
  49. EX Forces Ampuroid from Canada writes: Richard will not answer. He is too busy water boarding his refugee adoptee from Korea to make sure he programs him right to western society. See in Richards world Koreans are ok to save and he can shield his ears to the genocide of his pi** poor policy of abandoning Afghanistan with out leaving any security for the people the CF will leave behind.
  50. Dik Coates from Canada writes:
    Juno Canada:

    Is it ok for Russia, Iran, China or Pakistan to have influence over this strategic location? These rogue states will have very strong influence over the oil pipelines and pharmaceutical drug trade. That is our world's big piece of the economy pie.

    So, if that's the reason the US is there... then they're morally reprehensible and so is the Canadian government for following them!

    Dik
  51. Jay Crawford from Miami, Florida, United States writes:
    Dik Coates wrote:
    "So, if [economic influence] is the reason the US is there... then they're morally reprehensible and so is the Canadian government for following them!"

    Naw, Dik. It's about unstable states that harbor those who WANT to kill us, who DO kill their fellow Muslims, and who WILL do ALL of this so that they CAN weaken and hurt us by destabilizing the area.
    It's the nature of their quest for absolute power.

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