US Forces Admit Responsibility For Killing 33 Civilians In Taliban clash


United States’ military operations in northern Afghanistan, who were targeting the Taliban, has been found to have been responsible for the deaths of 33 civilians.
In November 2016, the United Nations announced investigations into the event on the 3rd of November, where US airstrikes were deployed in support of a special forces raid on suspected Taliban fighters after civilian casualties.
At the time, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) expressed concern over the use of such military tactics. “The loss of civilian life is unacceptable and undermines efforts toward building peace and stability in Afghanistan,” stated Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s special representative for Afghanistan and Head of UNAMA. “When conducting aerial operations, international military forces should take all feasible measures to minimize civilian harm, including [a] full analysis of the context for aerial strikes,” he said in a statement.
The US military promised an investigation after acknowledging that the air strikes were, most likely, responsible for the civilian casualties. The US statement said that civilians were killed and wounded, as a result of the Taliban using their houses as protection, in addition to the fact that a Taliban weapons cache was also hit in the raid “which also destroyed multiple civilian buildings and may also have killed civilians.”
Al Jazeera reports within the village that the air raids hit, were civilian areas, and many women and children were killed. “We don’t even know if the Taliban were actually killed in this attack. All we saw were dead bodies of the innocent people,” Ruhani, a resident of Boz village, told Al Jazeera. “We saw dead bodies of children as young as three years old. What was their fault?” Another resident, who lost members of his family in the fight, said the attack “only killed innocent people” and the houses were targeted based on “speculation.”
The US, while claiming that one casualty is one too many for them, is stating that the only way for civilians to not become casualties is for the Taliban forces to stop hiding behind them. Charles H. Cleveland, a spokesman for the US military in Afghanistan, told Al Jazeera that “The village is not a normal village. There are a lot of Taliban fighters there. However, the only real solution to prevent civilian casualties is for the Taliban to not hide behind civilians,” he said.
The Washington Post reports that roughly 10,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan to advise and assist Afghan forces. With such a strong military presence, there seems to be no sign of deescalation.

Annemarie Lewis