In memory of and sympathy for
Haji Hakim Jan (27)’s 4 brothers killed
Abdul Karim’s 2 cousins killed and 3 sons injured
Three injured men who died in Bost hospital
Hakim Jan’s 8-yr-old sister injured
At least 50 civilians killed
between 3 - 4 P.M. on Thursday, August 2, 2007
in the Taliban-controlled village of Bughni or Bagh-e-Nahi near the Shah Ibrahim shrine (or Qaleh (Qal’eh) Chah) in the district of Baghran in Helmand Province. US/NATO forces bombed the village as part of an alleged decapitation strike (targeting “two Taliban commanders”). Hundreds of people had gathered for the traditional weekly market (or ‘mela’) where local people trade everything from carpets, foods to cows. Market day falls on Thursday, the start of Afghanistan’s weekend. Then, suddenly, the U.S. bombs arrived.
Panic erupted. Eyewitnesses told gruesome tales of headless bodies piled high waiting for identification. Many said they lost fathers, brothers, and children. Others ferried their wounded to hospitals in the province, providing concrete evidence that simple civilians had been injured and massacred. Some injured were transferred to a clinic in Musa Qala, 100 kms away from Bughni; others were taken to Kandahar, 150 kms away; and yet others went to Lashkar Gah, 200 kms away (see photos below).
At least 20 civilians (including an 8-yr-old boy) with shrapnel wounds were brought to the main Bost hospital in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital. One of the injured men died there. Helmand's police chief, Mohammad Hussein Andiwal said. "I can confirm there were heavy bombardments," Andiwal told Reuters by phone. "We have heard of heavy casualties too and have sent a team to investigate this." A provincial lawmaker in Kabul, Mohammad Anwar, also received reports of high civilian casualties. In the Lashkar Gah hospital, Shokhi Khan, a relative of one of the wounded, said several hundred civilians were killed or wounded in the strikes. He said people had gathered for picnics and to go to a shrine in Baghran district north of Lashkar Gah on Thursday when the raids started. Twelve wounded men were brought to a hospital in the main southern city of Kandahar, said Sharifullah Khan, a doctor there. Nasibullah, one of the wounded men in Kandahar hospital, said the bombs hit a market. He claimed there were no Taliban there at the time of the attack. An Afghan Defense Ministry said some 40 men had also been brought to hospital in the main southern city of Kandahar. Other injured persons were brought to hospitals in Sangin and Musa Qala districts.
Abdul Karim, a resident of Baghran, recounted, “Many died on the way. One of my sons is in Bost Hospital. I don’t think he will survive. Two other sons are in Musa Qala. Two of my cousins were killed and two more were injured.” Another resident, Hafizullah, said, “It was a day of blackness. Almost everyone had lost someone. People did not know where their family members were. I saw people just sitting on the ground, staring at nothing. There was mourning everywhere.” Another resident added, “We grew tired of collecting the dead.”
Gul Wali, 18, was also among the wounded.
“Bombs were falling everywhere from the sky into the trees, and I saw
pieces of flesh and bone. These were villagers. They were innocent
people. They had just come to the mela to buy food for their families.
Instead, they ended up looking for their loved ones among piles of
bodies.” Wali’s reference to a line of trees corresponds perfectly with
the account given in the US Air Force’s Airpower Summary for August 2,
2007: “An Air Force B-1B Lancer dropped guided bomb unit-31s on enemies
hiding in a tree line near Baghran. The bomb drop was reported to have
General Zahir Azimy of the Afghan Defense Ministry put forth the highly self-serving and U.S-pleasing lie – no evidence whatsoever offered - that a large gathering of Taliban had been bombed, killing over 100 Taliban and three senior commanders including Commander Mansoor Dadullah. Azimy added, "According to our sources, there were 150 people killed, maybe less, but not more," he told a news conference. "If there were civilian casualties, they were very limited and should not exceed 10."
Since the attack, Dadullah has given several media interviews! Photos of injured children being treated at both the Lashkar Gah and Kandahar hospitals confirm that the Karzai clique’s general is, as usual, dishing-out crude propaganda-speak. Moreover, the village is in a Taliban-controlled area where no doubt Sharia prevails and women do not attend public gatherings or go out shopping (hence no female victims)….Lt-Col. Charlie Mayo?
Reporters haven’t been permitted to talk to the injured and they are under heavy guard as part of news management in order to prevent them making known the truth of this slaughter.
U.S. and NATO bombs rained down before upon civilians in Baghran in February 2003 (see my “A Rain of Bombs,” in Frontline at http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2319/stories/20061006000306100.htm ) and in June 2006 (see http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mwherold/GuAhmadmotherandfather.htm).
The attention by the mainstream corporate media to 21 captured South Koreans as compared to the Afghan civilians slaughtered at Bughni is revealing. Luckily photos of the injured civilian bombing victims have been taken (and are reproduced below). “The bomb drop was reported to have good effects” – reported on the Official Website of the United States Air Force
A U.S. “precision” bombing strike by a B1-B of Combined Joint Task Force-82 dropping JDAM GBU-31 2,000-lb bombs (made by Boeing) upon a gathering of civilians [and possibly Taliban] in the village of Bughni near the Ibrahim Shah Baba shrine
Sources of photos: EFE (Spain), Allah Uddin (AP), Allah Uddin (AP), Abdul Qodus (Reuters), John Moore (Getty Images), Abdul Malik (AFP), Abdul Khaleq (AP), Abdul Khaleq (AP)
The above photos of the Baghran bombing victims were taken at the Italian Emergency surgical clinic in Lashkar Gah