In memory of

at least three civilians and

Pari Bibi, a 19-yr-old girl

killed on Friday, April 14, 2006

near the villages of Howz-e-Madad, Sartak, and Sangesar (Sangisar), Zhare Dasht (‘Yellow Desert’ named after yellow desert flowers) district, some 40 kms southwest of Kandahar. The town and area are famous for being the birthplace of the Taliban and home of Mullah Omar. Despite the U.S. onslaught in 2001, many in the region remain sympathetic to the Taliban (as described in 2003 by Jason Burke, “Stronger and More Deadly, the Terror of the Taliban is Back,” The Observer (November 16, 2003) at http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1086197,00.html ). Villagers caught in the cross-fire and aerial bombing on Friday in Sartak said many Taliban had come into the area several days earlier, but said that they had not come into the village itself. They angrily denounced the U.S. and Afghan forces for coming to fight them in the village. A fierce battle broke out when Afghan police forces carried out a search operation near Sangesar. Both Afghan Army and Canadian forces from Kandahar rushed to the scene and fighting continued throughout Friday. As usual, close air support was called-in: British Harrier jets, Apache attack helicopters, and A-10 jets. Villagers reported heavy aerial bombardments. The bombardment killed the district police chief as well as numerous Afghan troops hit by aircrafts’ errant bombing. Fleeing villagers said they saw plumes of black smoke rising. Residents said four civilians in Sangesar were killed and others were wounded in the aerial attacks. Afghan and U.S. forces are as usual preventing all access to the area as part of their effort to manage and spin news. Two days after the attack, real news began filtering out. Muhammad Nasim, 40, a farmer and father of nine, said American helicopters fired upon his farming compound and peppered the fields around. At least 4 rockets hit the compound, killing his animals. Mr. Nasim said, “I am a poor man, and I built this room with a lot of difficulty, but the Americans came and destroyed it….Karzai promised us development; instead they are bombing us.” Another villager, Hafizullah, 35, said his sister Bibi Pari, 19, had been shot dead by the police as she fled across a wheat field with his own two children. Zaher Shah, 21, was shot in the stomach as he rose from his prayers at the village mosque at midday. He admitted seeing many Taliban but only at the mosques, not in the villages.

Killed as a result of close air support provided to ground forces and firing by satrap troops.