In memory of

 

“civilian women and children”

killed and injured on April 22, 2004

 

in the small village of Sperkay (Sperah) in the Tani district, 32 kms southwest of Khost city near the Pakistani border. Only in the aftermath of the investigation into the friendly-fire case of Pat Tillman do we now (November 2006) know about the actions of U.S. Army Rangers. Scott Lindlaw and Martha Mendoza combed through thousands of pages of internal Army documents, interviewed dozens of people, etc. The review shows that U.S. occupation Ranger forces had driven into a canyon in a Humvee and came under fire. Panic broke out and the Rangers returned fire, killing a friendly Afghan and Pat Tillman. After killing Tillman, “at least one of the same Rangers” turned his gun on the village where witnesses say civilian women and children had gathered: “the shooters raked it with fire, [even] the American witnesses reported.” Such firing most probably injured and killed some of the gathered civilians. A week after this incident, U.S. forces – as part of Operation Mountain Storm – entered into a Pakistani village, Mir Sperkay, in North Waziristan, proceeding to search vehicles and beat up some tribesmen who resisted them. No so-called “terrorists” were found and the much heralded “hammer and anvil” strategy failed, becoming just another routine search for elusive guerrillas (further details in http://www.jamestown.org/publications_details.php?volume_id=401&issue_id=2950&article_id=236694). Stan Goff, in his excellent report on the killing of Cpl. Pat Tillman in Counterpunch magazine (at http://www.counterpunch.org/goff08092007.html), notes that one reason Tillman was killed by his own unit is that the members of his own separated team that fired on him had launched their attack upon a village despite the fact that not a shot had been fired from that village—a clear violation of the Geneva Accords, but an instructive example of how US forces are actually operating in the field. (Tillman himself was also shot while standing up with his arms raised in a sign of surrender—another violation of international law.)

 The region has been a stronghold of legendary Jalaluddin Haqqani who had served as the overall mujahideen Pashtun ommander for Paktia during the anti-Soviet struggle, later becoming a leading figure of the Taliban. After the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and soon after the US invasion of Afghanistan, Haqqani was invited to Islamabad, where the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), with which he had close ties, offered him the presidency of Afghanistan, but on the condition that he break all ties with Mullah Omar and carve out a "moderate Taliban" faction. In declassified US State Department documents, Haqqani is described as the tribal leader "most exploited by the ISI [and US] during the Soviet-Afghan war to facilitate the introduction of Arab mercenaries". Haqqani refused the offer and went back to the Ghulam Khan Mountains between Khost and Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area and began his campaign of pitched battles against US-led forces. He then became a prime US target, with a number of attacks aimed specifically at eliminating him (source: Syed Saleem Shahzad). The Afghan resistance in Khost, Paktia and Paktika is now being led by Haqqani’s son, Sirajuddin.

 

Killed by machine-gun fire from U.S. Army 75th Ranger Regiment based at Camp Salerno in Khost