World US, Afghan forces killed 33 civilians in self-defence: NATO

11:51  12 january  2017
11:51  12 january  2017 Source:   AFP

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The Afghan cabinet initially put the toll at 33 , but revised it downward for some unknown reason. The three buses were traveling along the road together in broad daylight, carrying a total of 42 people, all of them civilians , when US Special Forces ordered an attack on them, assuming they were carrying “insurgents” and calling in an air strike. Afghanistan ’s cabinet condemned the attack as “unjustifiable” and has promised to launch a joint investigation into the killings with NATO .

Despite the US ’ claims of self - defence and terrorist eradication, it can be argued that the NATO invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 was not legal under international law. However, the issue of self - defence could be raised by the Afghan people themselves, as resistance against NATO forces and their perceived aggression could in itself equate to individual self - defence , countering the collective, national self - defence that the US claimed.

Errant air strikes contributed to a 42 percent jump last year in casualties caused by pro-government forces compared to last year, according to the UN © Provided by AFP Errant air strikes contributed to a 42 percent jump last year in casualties caused by pro-government forces compared to last year, according to the UN

NATO confirmed Thursday that US forces in Afghanistan killed 33 Afghan citizens "in self-defence" in Kunduz last year in a single incident highlighting civilian casualties, one of the most contentious issues of the 15-year campaign.

The incident on November 3 saw US and Afghan troops call for air reinforcement as they engaged with Taliban forces hiding in civilian houses in a village in the volatile northern province.

Civilian men, women and children were "likely inside the buildings from which the Taliban were firing", the report said. Two US forces and three Afghan commandos also died in the firing.

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The US - NATO forces ’ indiscriminate killing of unarmed, civilians — wedding parties, mayors and many, many children — has been condemned by the UN and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). AIHRC reported in September that civilians are killed in most US operations, and that 98% of civilian casualties caused by coalition forces in Afghanistan are “intentional”. “ War criminals” is how it described the occupying forces . Just 3% of Afghan women are literate and infant mortality is now among the highest in the world.

Afghan officials: At least 2 Afghan civilians killed by roadside bomb in eastern Laghman province - AP. Read more on The planned partial withdrawal of U . S . troops from Afghanistan , as well as NATO troops, and the transfer of many combat roles from NATO forces to the Afghan security forces occurred between 2011 and 2014. A bilateral security agreement was signed between the US and Afghanistan that would allow NATO troops to remain after the withdrawal date in an advisory and counter-terrorism capacity.

The civilian deaths sparked outrage at the time, with victims' relatives parading the mutilated bodies of dead children piled into open trucks through the streets of Kunduz city.

"The investigation determined, regretfully, that 33 civilians were killed and 27 others wounded," NATO's Afghan mission Resolute Support said in a statement.

"To defend themselves and Afghan forces, US forces returned fire in self-defence at Taliban who were using civilian houses as firing positions," the statement added.

"Regardless of the circumstances, I deeply regret the loss of innocent lives," said General John Nicholson, commander of US forces – Afghanistan.

The United Nations has also launched an investigation, calling any loss of civilian life "unacceptable", with its findings due to be released by the end of this month.

The carnage underscored worsening insecurity after the Taliban in October 2016 overran Kunduz city for the second time in a year, as NATO-backed Afghan forces struggle to rein in the insurgents.

Civilian casualties caused by NATO forces have been one of the most divisive issues in the 15-year battle against the insurgents, prompting strong public and government criticism.

Errant air strikes contributed to a 42 percent jump last year in casualties caused by pro-government forces compared to last year, according to the UN.

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