In memory of 

 

at least 15 civilians killed

on Thursday, May 31, 2007

 in the volatile Sangin district of Helmand Province. British-led NATO occupation forces and their Afghan cohorts attacked villages in an air and ground assault. According to the local police chief, Ghulam Wali Jan, who spoke with BBC News, at least half of the reported 30 dead were civilians killed by aerial bombing. Local people put the civilian death too much higher. The Associated Press’ Amir Shah predictably parroted the NATO claim that only two civilians were slightly injured and treated at a British base (…how kind!).
 

What the mainstream U.S. press neglects to mention, let alone analyze is that the arrival of British occupation forces in the Sangin area last year was accompanied by a massive rise in U.S. bombing:

 

“U.S  Air Force data show that Musa Qalah [in Helmand] [was] bombed by USAF B-1s, A-10 ground-attack aircraft and RAF Harriers on almost every day [in August 2006] US aircraft have attacked the town on more than 20 occasions and there was only one day [in August] that US aircraft did not bomb targets in Helmand province. Before British troops arrived there was barely one call a week for air support’ (Telegraph, 28 August, 2006). On 29 Jul the Telegraph reported that, according to the MoD, British paratroopers in Afghanistan had ‘killed more than 700 Taliban fighters’ since their arrival in May, and that many of these deaths were the result of air strikes ‘with RAF harriers and US A10 fighters dropping 500lb laser-guided bombs.’ US CENTCOM Air Power Summaries for Jul and Aug log over 550 ‘weapons expenditures’ during this period (tinyurl.com/l5zuy)…‘ Since late June 2006 British forces have fired more than 80,000 rounds in Afghanistan’ (Telegraph, 4 Sept) and ‘commanders have been given authorization to use the Army’s controversial Hydra rockets, which are used to kill large concentrations of enemy troops with tungsten darts’ (Sunday Telegraph, 3 September 2006). One former British Captain, Leo Doherty, described how his force “pound[ed]” the town of Sangin with rounds of heavy explosive from 105mm guns on a nightly basis (Sunday Times, 10 September 2006). “These are hardly surgical tools and I shudder to think of the civilian casualties,” he said” (source: http://www.voices.netuxo.co.uk/library/letter_septoct06.htm ).

  
“Precisely” killed by US/NATO close air support bombing