In memory of

 

Abdul Habib

Mohammed Ali, brother of Abdul

between 1-2 AM, January 16, 2008

 

in a two-family house in Kandahar city. Neil Durkin of Amnesty International (certainly not Human Rights Watch) wrote in the British daily, The Telegraph, about this incident in its issue of February 27, 2009, that is more than 13 months after the murderous attack by U.S. Special Forces based at Firebase Gecko:

Between 1-2am on the rainy night of 16 January 2008, a large number of international military personnel wearing desert camouflage surrounded the house of two brothers living in a two-family house in Kandahar. According to various family members, the soldiers knocked loudly on the door. One of the brothers, Abdul Habib, went to answer it and was shot. Numerous soldiers ("the Americans", say the family) dragged Abdul out into the courtyard and shot him at least five more times. Then, inside the house, the soldiers saw the other brother - Mohammed Ali - running up the stairs from his basement dwelling and he too was hit by at least seven rounds and killed instantly. Members of the household say that soldiers then searched everywhere ("they even opened a package of biscuits"), found nothing (no weapons, nothing else) and left.

This is the family's account, in some respects backed up by neighbours. Is it accurate? You could try asking the US command at the local base - "Firebase Gecko". Except they don't want to talk about it. NATO has denied any involvement, while local Afghan police are apparently staying out of it (local residents say that the police who operate a permanent checkpoint near the brothers' home were specifically told by the soldiers shortly before the incident not to respond if they heard gunfire).

The UN expert Philip Alston has tried to investigate the case, noting that the victims "are widely acknowledged, even by well-informed government officials, to have had no connection to the Taliban". He's got nothing out of the US commander about what happened. In fact Firebase Gecko is widely perceived as untouchable, not least because US Special Forces ("other government agencies" like the CIA) operate from there.  

 

 

Executed in middle of the night by U.S. Special Forces