Airstrike creates Taliban firestorm
Friday, September 04, 2009
Prep yourselves for another round of dead civilians or dead tangos. Sadly the narrative has been spun out so far towards the idea that anyone killed is called a civilian that we suffer some hearts and minds damage regardless.
KUNDUZ, Afghanistan – A U.S. jet blasted two fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban in northern Afghanistan, setting off a huge fireball Friday that killed up to 90 people, including dozens of civilians who had rushed to the scene to collect fuel, Afghan officials said.
The only thing worse than an anonymous source is an anonymous Afghan source. What does our team have to say.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Christine Sidenstricker, a public affairs officer, said the attack occurred after commanders in the area determined that there were no civilians there.
In Brussels, however, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said "a number" of Taliban fighters were killed and "there is a possibility of civilian casualties as well."
The German military, which has troops under NATO command in Kunduz, said the airstrike struck the tankers at 2:30 a.m., killing 50 insurgents, adding that "uninvolved (persons) were presumably not harmed."
OK the US says no civilians and since we had eyes on with the drone that ought to carry the most weight. NATO says maybe civilians in keeping with it's policy of always being squishy and never taking a stand. But the Germans say no civilians, and how did they get involved in this. Last I heard they aren't allowed to do any warfighting. We should probably check in with Taliban spokesman Mujahid.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the trucks were headed from Tajikistan to supply NATO forces in Kabul.
Mujahid said that when the hijackers tried to drive the trucks across the Kunduz River, the vehicles became stuck in the mud and the insurgents opened valves to release fuel and lighten the loads.
He said villagers swarmed the trucks to collect the fuel despite warnings that they might be hit with an airstrike.
Mujahid said no Taliban died in the attack.
No Taliban killed, just innocent Afghans according to the enemy. Right. Let's talk to a supposed local.
Abdul Moman Omar Khel, member of the Kunduz provincial council and a native of the village where the airstrike happened, said about 500 people from surrounding villages swarmed the trucks before the attack.
He said villagers told him insurgents had invited them to help themselves to the fuel.
"The Taliban called to the villagers 'Come take free fuel,'" he said, and the prospect of free fuel must have been irresistible. "The people are so hungry and poor."
He said five people were killed from a single family, and a man he knows named Haji Gul Bhuddin lost three sons.
And the provincial governor.
Gov. Omar said a local Taliban commander and four Chechen fighters were among those killed.
And so in the end we have no way of saying who was killed and whether this was a righteous strike. That is exactly why Gen. McChrystal changed the directives on using airstrikes and why he was right. Most of the Afghans are probably lying or stretching the truth for their own purposes, the Taliban flack certainly is and I believe our forces believe they had done their due diligence before launching. But in the end perception is reality and it is certain more people will believe civilians died than not. And that is a net loss for us.