US Riled as Afghan Report Details Civilian Deaths in Air Strikes

Western Officials Say Report Sounds Similar to What Taliban Said

The Karzai government his issued a new report detailing its on-the-ground findings in the January 15 US air strikes in Parwan, fueling anger among US and NATO officials and warnings of “growing doubts” about Karzai’s fitness to rule.

The report is in keeping with previous statements from officials involved in the probe, confirming the eight hours of US air strikes killed at least 12 civilians, and potentially as many as 17. NATO initially put the figure at zero, but revised it to two the day of the attack. They also promised investigations but haven’t issued any new statements.

And while plenty of Afghans are mad about the civilian deaths, that anger seems to pale in comparison to US anger about those deaths being publicized.

There is no real dispute of the facts among Western diplomats, but they are complaining that the report sounds similar to the narrative of Taliban statements about the US strike, and reflects the Karzai government’s hostility toward the occupation forces.

“We have a lot of Afghans in the government who want us to leave,” complained one EU diplomat. “I think we’re all beginning to realize that.”

Karzai used the report as an opportunity to reiterate his opposition to a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) that would keep the occupation going “through 2025 and beyond.” Karzai added in a statement that he wants the US to start peace talks with the Taliban, or failing that to just leave outright.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.