Thousands of Afghan villagers across Laghman Province rallied to protest against the latest incident of US troops killing innocent civilians. Protesters condemned both the US forces and President Hamid Karzai’s government, demanding that troops end a military operation that killed around 1,100 civilians in 2008 alone.
The latest incident started, as so many do, with international forces claiming to have killed 15 militants and no civilians. Yet villagers pointed out that many of the “militants” were women and children and reported as many as 21 civilian bodies found across the area.
Today, President Karzai confirmed that the US raid in fact killed at least 16 civilians, and cautioned that the continued killing of innocent Afghans is “strengthening the terrorists.”
The enormous civilian toll in the seven-plus year war has caused considerable tension between the international forces and the Karzai government. Reports are that even as the killings undermine confidence in the Karzai government the United States is already eying his potential ouster in the next election.