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Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Death Came to Zarghun Shah, East of Kabul


More Collateral Damage in Afghanistan * Blues On Bach

Yesterday, the morning after Father's Day, the following news item made me pause and think about the slaughter of innocents that is taking place while major powers go about establishing democracy (that is what they say) in various parts of the world. If that is their objective it is often not supported by facts. One gets the feeling there is more to it. Seven children in a school building in Zarghun Shah, in the province of Paktika, Afghanistan, got blown up. Officials issued the usual platitudes. No doubt there will be some appropriate noise from Prime Minister Karzai. He is a puppet, powerless to do anything and the world knows it. What has become evident during the past years of warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan is that to us the loss of civilian lives there does not mean much. It is almost as if they are lesser human beings. There is no outcry; the public remains apathetic; the media gives such news scant coverage. And the insurgents, whoever they are -- fundos, Taliban, al-Qaeda, get more recruits to fight for their cause.

Fisnik Abrashi, Associated Press
June 18, 2007
  • KABUL, Afghanistan - U.S.-led coalition jets bombed a compound suspected of housing al-Qaida militants in eastern Afghanistan, killing seven boys and several insurgents, officials said Monday.
  • Clashes in the south left dozens more suspected insurgents dead, officials said


Paktika Gov. Akram Akhpelwak said there normally is strong coordination between the government and the coalition and NATO, but that he was not made aware of the missile strike on the madrassa beforehand, resulting in the death of seven boys, ages 10 to 16.

Local authorities are working with NATO and coalition troops "to have better coordination and to not have these misunderstandings, but today we had a misunderstanding and the people will be unhappy," Akhpelwak told The Associated Press by telephone. "We will go to the area and discuss the issue with the people and apologize to the people."

Coalition troops had "surveillance on the compound all day and saw no indications there were children inside the building," said Maj. Chris Belcher, a coalition spokesman. He accused the militants of not letting the children leave the compound that was targeted.

"If we knew that there were children inside the building, there was no way that that airstrike would have occurred," said Sgt. 1st Class Dean Welch, another coalition spokesman.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said it has sent a team with the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission to investigate.

Afghan officials have recently said that civilian deaths are the main concern of Afghans, and President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly called for foreign troops to do more to prevent civilian casualties.

Listening to Blues On Bach by Modern Jazz Quartet. The disc includes Tears from the Children based on Prelude No.8 from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier.

John Lewis, Piano and Harpsichord
Milt Jackson, Vibraharp
Percy Heath, Bass
Connie Kay, Drums and Percussion
Label: Atlantic
ASIN: B000002I6B

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