Two More Afghan Civilians Killed by NATO as Toll Mounts

Killings Becoming Embarrassingly Common in Recent Weeks

by Jason Ditz, March 31, 2011

Already forced to admit that a US air strike in Sangin District, Helmand Province over the weekend had in fact killed a number of civilians (Helmand’s governor says 7, NATO admits at least 4), another attack in nearby Kandahar City added to the toll.

According to reports, NATO troops opened fire into traffic in Kandahar after a civilian car’s brakes failed near a checkpoint, which they assumed was a suicide attack. The hail of NATO bullets killed two teenage boys and wounded at least two others.

Such attacks are becoming increasingly common under Gen. David Petraeus’ watch, and hardly a week goes by in which at least one incident of civilian killings by coalition troops is not reported.

This comes as several reports affirm that Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Petraeus’ predecessor, had actually reduced the number of killings by a measurable amount, even as the Obama Administration escalated the war to new heights.

McChrystal had made the reduction of civilian deaths a top priority, banning air strikes near civilian populations and sharply curbing night raids. Since taking over Petraeus has removed most if not all of the restrictions, and the deaths have predictably soared.

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