In memory of and sympathy for
At least 17-21 civilians killed: 2 women, 3 children and 12-16 undetermined
9 wounded civilians
during the night of January 6/7, 2009
in the village of Masamut (Masmo) in the Alishing district of Laghman Province. The U.S. military proclaimed the night-time raid a complete success, saying 32 “anti-government elements” were killed – “the fruit of an emphasis on intelligence-driven use of U.S Special Operations forces.” A simple fact check reveals the U.S military’s version to be an unabashed lie. The attack was no doubt carried out by the secretive U.S Special Operations Force “Shaheen unit” which engages in extra-judicial execution raids discussed last year by U.SN. rapporteur Philip Alston.
Even Karzai admitted that the U.S raid killed 17 villagers including 2 women and 3 children (and 12 men). A member of the elected provincial council in Laghman, Rohullah, said reports delivered to him from the area said 22 civilians had been killed and 9 wounded. Abdul Rahimzai, head of Laghman's provincial council, said that Friday night's attack killed 21 civilians and wounded several others. 'Several tribal elders in the area contacted me today and said that they took out 21 dead bodies, including women, from the destroyed houses,' Rahimzai told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
Residents said 23 civilians were killed. U.S forces broke down doors and rousted villagers using attack dogs. Terrified villagers believed they were being attacked by thieves.
After the deadly midnight raid, local residents were so enraged they threatened to march upon the American occupation base in the region.
The Masamut assassination raid was typical of many conducted in Afghanistan by U.S. Special Operations Forces. One of the first to be shot, according to a lengthy report filed by one of the rare independent Western journalists in the area, Carlotta Gall of the New York Times, was
a man called Qasem, a member of the Afghan Border Police who was at home on leave. His brother, Wazarat Khan, said Qasem was killed as soon as he looked out his front door. “We did not think they were Americans; we thought they were thieves,” he said. “They killed my brother right in the doorway.” One of the men in the hospital, Abdul Manan, 25, who had a bullet wound in the shoulder, said he woke up when he heard a female neighbor calling for help and heard three shots. He said he came out of his house and saw soldiers wearing headlamps. “I thought they were smoking cigarettes,” he said. “They said something in English that I did not understand, and then they shot me.” Another man, Darwaish Muhammad, 18, hospitalized with shrapnel wounds, said he was awakened by the mother of a neighbor, Shahpur Khan, calling for help. He had been shot. Mr. Muhammad said he and two others rushed to help carry the woman’s son on a rope bed down a slope outside the village to get help. They were 10 minutes from the village when a helicopter fired a rocket at them, killing the wounded man and two of the bearers. He and the mother were badly wounded, he said. A United States military spokesman, Col. Jerry O’Hara, confirmed that United States air support forces had fired on a group of five carrying a wounded person outside the village. He said all five had been killed and all were militants. That some of the villagers survived may explain some of the discrepancy of the death toll. Colonel O’Hara added that care had been taken not to use air power inside the village, to avoid civilian casualties. He dismissed the villagers’ accounts that they had mistaken the soldiers for thieves. “I am not buying that,” he said. “These people were acting as sentries.” …The governor of Laghman Province, Lutfullah Mashal, acknowledged that some of the villagers were armed. But he explained that because there was no police force to speak of in rural areas, villages kept security through a kind of neighborhood watch. “Whoever came out with a weapon, he was shot because the American forces have night-vision devices,” the governor said…Villagers of Masamut, and local officials who visited the village afterward, protested the tactics used in the raid to United States military officials. The governor also complained that the raid had been conducted without coordination with Afghan forces or even with other American forces based in the province.
Abdul Mateen, a village elder from
Masamut, said a woman tried to flee the village to safety. “Then someone
shouted at her. Maybe they told her to stop, but she couldn’t understand, so
they shot her,” Mateen recounted, “So even people trying to get away couldn’t
The following rare photo by Najibulrahman of Pajhwok Afghan News shows one of the dead civilian victims:
An Afghan man, who was wounded during a U.S. strike in Alishing district, lies on bed at a hospital in Laghman province, northeast of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Nesar Ahmad) January 7, 2009 (Source: http://www.texansforpeace.org/endthewar/olderAfghans.htm ).
Killed and wounded in a night-time ground assault by U.S. Special Operations troops probably of the “Shaheen unit” based in Nangarhar