In memory of and in Sympathy for

 

Niaz Mohammad, 27, farmer and father of four, killed

A woman neighbor injured

Another neighbor wounded

Abducted 6 people

 

died at 10 P.M. on night of July 31, 2002

 

in the village of Khoni Baggcha (Khomi Baghicha), 6 kms southwest of Zormat, in Paktia Province. U.S heliborne Special Forces and Apache attack helicopters attack village searching for a Haji Uddin, a local veteran of the anti-Soviet struggle, not present. Windows broken, doors smashed, women rounded up, 6 persons abducted (including Ahmed Khanís family members). Homes are riddled with bullets. Helicopter fire kills Niaz Mohammad, brother of Haji Ussin and a farmer sleeping next to his harvested grain. Niaz is found in the morning with a bullet in his foot and another in his back which pierced his heart. The raiding party abducted 6 persons (including three servants). The Afghan forces accompanying the U.S occupation forces loot the homes stealing womenís jewelry. A report by Human Rights Watch described the assault:

During the raid, Ahmed Khan was arrested along with his two sons, aged 17 and 18 years. A local farmer died from gunfire during the arrest operation, and a woman in a neighboring house was wounded. Human Rights Watch spoke with several neighbors and other witnesses to the raid. Ahmed Khan described the attack: It was around harvest time. The farmers were sleeping by the harvests. . . . It was about nine at night. We were lying in bed, but we were not yet asleep. . . . Suddenly, there was a lot of noise. Some helicopters were flying over. Then there were large explosions. The house shook; the towers [corners of the house] had been hit. . . . The operations started. Some helicopters came; we could hear them circling and firing machine guns. It was a lot of noise. There were also explosions. They rocketed one of the towers, and they rocketed a hole through the wall. During the shooting, Ahmed Khan said he and his family hid on the floor in their bedroom on the second floor of the house. Gunfire shattered their windows and doors. Neighbors said they saw helicopters shooting at the house and at areas around it. Ahmed Khan described how U.S. forces entered his house, firing their weapons: I looked out the broken windows here, and saw that there were many soldiers in the compound. They shot at the door [front door of the house], and opened it, and came up these stairs. They came through the windows. . . . They entered the house, through the windows, which had been broken by the shooting and the explosions. They came up to our room, and they kicked the door open and entered with torches and machine guns. They signaled for us to put up our hands, there were no Afghans with them, no Pashto speakers, although later [we saw] interpreters in the yard. . . . Then they fastened the menís hands and told the women to go into the yard. And they took us into the yard too. Troops, including Afghan soldiers, then searched the house, occasionally using gunfire to open locks. They [U.S. soldiers] made the women go to the other house [across the yard]. Then they searched the house. They broke all the windows, and tore the doors off cupboards, and shot open the boxes, and turned them over. . . . [Later,] they put hoods over our heads, and walked us out. We were lifted up, into a helicopter. I could hear the rotors. We were in the helicopter for a long time. . . . I donít know how long. Later I learned I was in Bagram. The body of a local laborer and farmer, Niaz Mohammad, was found after the raid. A neighbor told Human Rights Watch: [Later, we] found the corpse of the man who was killed. It was Niaz Mohammad. He had a bullet in his foot, and a bullet in his back. It had entered in his back, and come out right where his heart is. He was found near to the mill. Ahmed Khan and his neighbors told Human Rights Watch that Niaz Mohammad had been sleeping outside, near piles of harvested wheat, in order to keep watch so that no one would steal the grain. According to neighbors, a local woman was also wounded in the attack. She received a bullet wound that was not considered to be serious. The homes in the vicinity of Ahmed Khanís house received considerable damage from bullets and other weapons, indicating that the U.S. forces used considerable firepower even though there was no evidence of any armed opposition. A U.N. local staff person visited the site the day after the attack: ďThere were bullet shells all around the house, everywhere, many shells. There was a big hole in the wall and bullet holes in the windows; the glass was all broken and had fallen into the yard. Household items were scattered all aboutóall around the compound.Ē Human Rights Watch visited Ahmed Khanís compound in March 2003 and observed scores of bullet holes in the window frames and doors of the house, bullet slugs, and destroyed farm equipment. Ahmed Khanís family said they lost many of their most valuable possessions on the night of the raid. U.S. forces confiscated some books and four automatic weapons, which they later returned to Ahmed Khan, when he and his teenage sons were released. But the family said that other possessions were missing. Said Ahmed Khan: They stole all my possessions. . . . I donít know who it was. The Americans returned some things to us, but a lot of jewelry disappeared. The women were in the other room. They didnít see anything. . . . The Americans may have taken the jewelry, or the Afghans. I donít know. I lost a lot of property. I donít know what was lost that night. A lot of jewelry was taken. Ahmed Khanís frustration was manifest months later: They killed a farmer, Niaz Mohammed. He was just guarding his harvest and was killed. He had four children, two boys and two girls. What will I do for these children? I take care of them now. We will forgive America when they pay for his life, at least to help me with these children.

At the US military base in Bagram, the spokeswoman, Captain Christa D'Andrea, said: "There was no bombing. There have been none injured or killed. The information is incorrect."

  

U.S Special Forces and Afghan militia and two Apache helicopters fire three rockets at home