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Afghanistan Is Not A NATO Free-Fire Zone

Who ordered the air strike on the Akhundzada family’s home?

Saturday 9 June 2012, by Matthew J. Nasuti (Former U.S. Air Force Captain)

The lives of people from Asia continue to have little value in the West. How is it that NATO forces can kill 18 Afghan men, women and children on Wednesday night in Baraki Barak District with no consequences? According to Richard Lindell of ABC News, Australia, NATO officials deny killing any civilians. The U.S. State Department’s propaganda arm, Voice of America, reported that only that “multiple insurgents” were killed. Where is the United Nations insignificant Secretary General? Where is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or America’s invisible Ambassador in Kabul? The silence is deafening.

According to Afghan Government officials, NATO warplanes bombed the Logar Province home of Basir Akhundzada, killing him, his brother Qayoum, Qayoum’s wife, four other women, seven children and two male guests at a wedding that was taking place at the home. The number of wounded is unknown.

NATO claimed it was targeting insurgents who had taken refuge in the home, but that fact does not give NATO the right to bomb the home. NATO’s spokespersons constantly claim that NATO commanders do everything possible to avoid Afghan civilian casualties, but this incident shows that simply not to be true. Afghanistan is not a free-fire zone. NATO cannot simply bomb the homes of Afghans because Taliban troops may be hiding in the home. There was no military necessity for this air strike.

NATO needs to immediately produce the official who ordered the air strike and he needs to answer questions before the international press. He needs to show some leadership and integrity instead of cowering in a bunker. This person caused the death of 18 people. It may be that this was an accident or it may be that the air strike was recklessly ordered, which would make it an “intentional killing” under American law. This needs to be promptly determined.

Unfortunately, NATO will not change its tactics because it is safer for NATO forces to bomb Afghan villages than to enter them and ferret out the Taliban. NATO will not produce or even identify the culprit because ultimately, Asians don’t matter. Protecting the career of that officer is more important.

That Taliban are not winning this war, NATO is losing it, and losing it in a dishonorable fashion. The valiant efforts by most NATO troops in the field are being undermined by a third-rate gaggle of political Generals and Admirals in Kabul and Mons, Belgium. They normally lead from behind, but as NATO retreats from Afghanistan, they will make sure that they are at the front of the columns that cross the Amu Darya.

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