More collateral damage has been caused by US/UK air raids on Afghanistan. Although many claims have been made by the Taleban, the Pentagon has admitted “rare errors”.
As usual in a war, information and propaganda are mixed to such an extent that hard news has to be gleaned, sifted or intuitively guessed at, rather than reported. However, presenting the claims and counter claims, the admissions and denials, it is possible to navigate between the lines.
The Taleban regime claimed on October 24th that on the previous day, 98 civilians were killed in the air raids, 52 of whom in a village near Kandahar. To date, nothing has been stated about this by the US/UK alliance. However, it has been admitted by the pentagon that “rare errors” occurred in northern Afghanistan, when civilian areas were hit and also that a bomb narrowly missed an old age people’s home near Herat in western Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, columns of refugees into Pakistan have complained that civilians trying to escape the bombing are being strafed by aircraft. The widow of Abdul Wakil, a schoolteacher killed when a column of refugees was strafed, stated that their village was destroyed by the bombs, the people started to run away and that they were attacked mercilessly. “I saw the bombs falling. I saw my husband killed. The bombing went on without interruption yesterday”. She said that the Taleban positions were nowhere near her village.
On October 25th, a bus carrying a group of Islamic worshipers from a Mosque took a direct hit from a US military aircraft and that there is a high number of casualties, although to date the number is not confirmed. Eyewitnesses claim that as soon as darkness fell over Kabul, “there was a chain of explosions”.
Another bus full of civilians is reposted to have been hit in Kandahar, according to Taleban spokesperson Abdul Hanan Himat. In other raids on the province, as Bin Laden’s hideout is searched for, it transpires that 8 nomads have been killed and 25 wounded, many of whom were children.
In the province of Herat, the village of Ishaq Sulaiman was attacked by US bombers, in which 20 villagers died. Eyewitnesses claim that eight or nine bombs were dropped on this agricultural village. It is supposed by some that Bin Laden is hiding in the Gora Tangi region, one which has a string of underground caverns, which he used as a base for attacks against the Armed Forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru LISBON PORTUGAL