Inquiry urged into Afghan bombing

Published April 10, 2003

KABUL, April 9: Human rights watchdog Amnesty International on Wednesday called for an investigation into the deaths of 11 Afghan civilians killed by a US bomb and urged that measures be taken to avoid civilian deaths as US-led military action continues in Afghanistan.

“The safety of civilians must be made a priority and urgent measures taken to avoid the repetition of such tragedies,” Amnesty said in a statement received here.

US military spokesman Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Lefforge earlier told reporters seven women and four men were killed on Wednesday when a bomb hit their house on the outskirts of Shkin in Paktika province, eastern Afghanistan.

“US forces must take sufficient precautions to protect civilians in selecting military objectives and means of attack,” Amnesty said.

“Civilian casualties cannot be allowed — neither in Afghanistan nor in Iraq — to become an acceptable feature of war,” the London-based rights watchdog said.

Coalition forces were pursuing a group of attackers who had left four Afghan militia troops wounded and had called in air support when a laser-guided bomb went astray, hitting the house.

In response to questions on how coalition forces responded to tipoffs, the US military spokesman had said they would not attack based on just one intelligence source.

“Coalition forces won’t arbitrarily go after a particular target based on one intelligence source,” he said.

“They generally perform multiple types of intelligence to assess that the targets they’re after are indeed valid targets. We would rather gather more solid evidence and intelligence and go after a solid target than go to after a target that’s based on circumstantial evidence.”

The seven women and four men were killed when their house was hit by a stray 450-kilogram bomb in a raid against a group of unknown attackers in the mountains of southeastern Afghanistan, a US military spokesman said.

Wednesday’s bombing error was the worst mistake by US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan since 48 people were killed in June last year when US forces mistakenly bombed a wedding party in central Uruzgan province.—AFP

Opinion

Editorial

UNGA speech
25 Sep, 2022

UNGA speech

CRISES test a nation’s resilience but also provide opportunities to rise and move forward. Prime Minister Shehbaz...
Dar’s return
Updated 25 Sep, 2022

Dar’s return

Dar will now be expected by his party to conjure up fiscal space for the govt to start spending ahead of the next elections.
Iran hijab protests
25 Sep, 2022

Iran hijab protests

FOR over a week now, Iran has been witnessing considerable tumult after a young woman died earlier this month in the...
Post-flood economy
Updated 24 Sep, 2022

Post-flood economy

WITH a third of the country — especially Sindh and Balochistan — under water, over 33m people displaced, and...
Panadol shortage
24 Sep, 2022

Panadol shortage

FROM headaches to fever to bodily pain — paracetamol is used ubiquitously in Pakistan as the go-to remedy for most...
Star-struck cops
24 Sep, 2022

Star-struck cops

IN this age of selfies and social media, it is easy to get carried away in the presence of famous people, even if ...