Following up quickly on the reports of the massive civilian death toll in last week’s Kunar Province offensive, the Afghan government confirmed today that its probe found 65 civilians were killed by NATO troops during the offensive, with 50 of them either women or children.
The report appears to have been largely in keeping with the provincial government’s reports, which said they were told 64 civilians had been killed in the remote portions of the border province.
NATO denied the killings at the time and insisted again today that their own investigation showed no civilians at all were killed or wounded. The claim follows an embarrassing week of soundbites, in which top US commanders first suggested that local parents were burning their children and blaming NATO, and later claimed that the local parents just burn their children all the time for the heck of it.
Now NATO’s official excuse has changed yet again, and they say that all of the villagers in that region are “pro-Taliban” and made up the reports of all the civilian deaths as “propaganda” against the occupation forces. This will likely not be welcomed any better than the other claims, and will also harm claims that NATO is making progress is convincing locals to support their decade-long occupation.