In memory of and sympathy for
Aziz Rahman’s 2 children killed
Razia, 8, burned with white phosphorous
Unknown number of civilians killed (incl. women and children)
on March 14/15, 2009
in a village of the Alasay Valley (Alasai) district, Kapisa Province. French and Afghan forces (with U.S. mentors) carried out air and ground strikes destroying a number of houses in the village and killing civilians. The strike was believed to be a reaction to the attack by the resistance earlier in the day in Alasay which killed at least one French and some Afghan troops. Some 800 Afghan and French forces then moved into the valley:
NATO military in Kabul predictably proclaimed in a statement that their forces along with Afghan troops killed 29 insurgents and wounded 12 others in an operation in north-eastern province of Kapisa in the past three days (Saturday – Monday). The “insurgents” were killed 'as Afghan and ISAF forces moved to secure key areas of the Alasay valley, progressively eliminating resistance along the route using indirect fire and close air support,' NATO said in a statement.
Almost two months later thanks to the independent reporting of Emma Graham-Harrison of Reuters, we know what really happened on that morning of March:
Life as 8-year-old Razia knew it ended one March morning when a shell her father says was fired by Western troops exploded into their house, enveloping her head and neck in a blazing chemical. Now she spends her days in a U.S. hospital bed at the Bagram airbase, her small fingernails still covered with flaking red polish but her face an almost unrecognisable mess of burnt tissue and half her scalp a bald scar. "The kids called out to me that I was burning but the explosion was so strong that for a moment I was deaf and couldn't hear anything," her father, Aziz Rahman, told Reuters. "And then my wife screamed 'the kids are burning' and she was also burning," he added, his face clouding over at the memory. The flames that consumed his family were fed by a chemical called white phosphorous, which U.S. medical staff at Bagram said they found on Razia's face and neck.”
A white phosphorous burn looks like this
“It bursts into fierce fire on contact with the air and can stick to and even penetrate flesh as it burns... U.S. military training manuals say firing it at people is illegal. Its use in populated areas has been a persistent source of controversy. Razia and her family are the first known civilian casualties of its use in Afghanistan. When Rahman saw his daughter on fire, he rushed her out to the yard, where he put out the flames with water stored to mix mud for a new wall. Her hair came away in clumps in his hand. He raced inside and found two other children dead from head wounds. He hoisted Razia on his back and staggered towards the local base where soldiers arranged a U.S. airlift that almost certainly saved her life... Razia, who did not want her picture taken, is now suffering mentally as well as physically."My daughter is really sad and really lonely and she misses her family and mother. When I call home in the afternoon ... she talks with her mother and is always saying 'mum, I miss you.'"
Burned and killed in a French/U.S aerial and ground attack