Afghan civilians recall airstrikes that leveled their villages & killed families (VIDEO)
With the Trump administration ramping up the protracted 16-year Afghan War, more civilians become trapped in the fierce fighting between the US forces that struggle to push back a resurgent Taliban and remnants of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).
The Achin district of the southern Afghan province of Nangarhar on the border with Pakistan has been repeatedly targeted by the US forces as the military stronghold of the ISIS Afghan branch since 2015. The raids have been forcing civilians to flee their homes, and killing those who failed to escape. Dozens of innocent people have perished along with terrorists, the villagers told RT.
American warplanes have destroyed “everything” in the village since IS captured it, local resident Mohammad Jan told RT as he recounted a recent airstrike.
“The three villagers who were killed did not belong to IS or the Taliban. They were in their houses during the bombardment. A man, a woman and their son were killed that time,” the man said.
Another man said that all homes in his village were turned into rubble as US forces hit the area in an attack coordinated with Afghan authorities.
“The government dropped off a leaflet to warn us, so we fled our village, then the Americans bombarded and destroyed these houses,” he said.
Even if locals manage to escape within whatever short timeframe they are given, they can still get caught in a mistargeted airstrike.
“We were on our way. Villagers said that the US forces were coming here, then we continued the trip towards the center of the district. During this time, they bombed us. There were eleven of us in the vehicle. Only I survived,” one woman told RT.
She lost both her parents and a cousin in that raid, and was crippled herself.
Nangarhar province has been one of the hardest hit in the raging military campaign. In April, the US dropped the ‘mother of all bombs,’ the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal, on a tunnel complex in the Achin district. The US Air Force had never previously used the bomb, developed in 2003, wary of mass casualties. Nearly a hundred IS militants were estimated to have been killed in the strike.
The US troops claim that they take every precaution to avoid civilian casualties. When faced with reports of non-combatant deaths, the US military is often reluctant to admit responsibility for the mounting civilian death toll. In August, the US military vehemently denied it could have mistaken a private vehicle carrying civilians for one carrying militants despite witness accounts to the contrary. At the time, villagers in the Haska Mena district of the Nangarhar Province told RT at least 10 people died in the vehicle, which the local governor said was transporting a single extended family.
In August, US President Donald Trump unveiled his new strategy for Afghanistan, expanding US presence and intensifying air strikes. A total of 4,300 bombs were dropped on Afghanistan in 2017, according to the US Air Force, a more than a two-fold increase from 2016, when it dropped 1,337 bombs.
Robert Naiman, policy director at Just Foreign Policy Group, believes that while there is no way to escape civilian casualties with this bombing intensity, what should be revised is the US strategy of fighting violence with more violence.
“The main problem is that escalation, the fact that the Trump administration has no political, diplomatic strategy to end the war, just more violence. It’s been 16 years, the idea that more bombing can accomplish something fundamentally useful is preposterous,” Naiman said.
“The status quo is going to produce more civilian deaths and accomplish absolutely nothing,” he said, adding that a spate of deadly terrorist attacks that left hundreds dead in Kabul in the past two weeks might be in part triggered by the US activity.
Arguing that “military victory against Taliban is impossible,” Naiman suggested the US should step out of that vicious circle and push for a diplomatic and political solution. One of the reasons no US leader has done it before is because it would dent their image.
“Nobody wants to know you as a politician... who wants to take responsibility for the policy implications of acknowledging that the Taliban cannot be defeated militarily.”
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