No lies, please!

The Interior Ministry of Afghanistan accused U.S.-led coalition forces of killing 76 Afghan civilians, 19 women, 7 men and the rest children under the age of 15, in the Herat province. According to what ministry said, the coalition forces bombarded the Azizabad area of Shindand district on Friday. However coalition forces denied killing any civilians and said 30 militants had been killed in an air strike in that district.

Who lied? It is not a futile debate. If the Interior Ministry lied, it is important to understand why, because in theory the Afghan government should be an ally of coalition. But if it was the coalition to lie, well, that is a problem we cannot ignore.

Please, understand: it is not a matter of debating here if it is legitimate to be in Afghanistan or if it is right to fight the terrorism in this way. This is not the point. Whatever is your opinion, we should represent the democracy. It is more difficult to be honest, but it is a must for whoever speak of democracy and freedom. So there is only one behavior that is less acceptable than killing innocents: to lie if we do it.

As citizens of countries belonging to that coalition, we must ask our governments to find out which is the truth about that air strike. And ask them to tell us. No danger and no terrorism can justify the fact to forget our values. We believe in freedom and we must be honest especially when we are wrong and when we do something that cannot be forgiven. Otherwise, we are terrorists too.

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Comments (1) to «No lies, please!»

  1. mericonci says:





    Following reports of large numbers of civilian casualties caused during military

    operations in Shindand district of Herat province, UNAMA’s human rights team has

    now returned from a mission to the affected area to investigate these reports.

    This team met with the District Governor and local elders yesterday. They also

    interviewed people from a number of households in Nawabad village who confirmed

    to us that at around midnight on the 21st August, foreign and Afghan military

    personnel entered the village of Nawabad in the Azizabad area of Shindand district.

    Military operations lasted several hours during which air strikes were called in. The

    destruction from aerial bombardment was clearly evident with some 7-8 houses

    having been totally destroyed and serious damage to many others. Local residents

    were able to confirm the number of casualties, including names, age and gender of

    the victims.

    Investigations by UNAMA found convincing evidence, based on the testimony of

    eyewitnesses, and others, that some 90 civilians were killed, including 60 children, 15

    women and 15 men. 15 other villagers were wounded or otherwise injured.

    This is matter of grave concern to the United Nations, I have repeatedly made clear

    that the safety and welfare of civilians must be considered above all else during the

    planning and conduct of all military operations. The impact of such operations

    undermines the trust and confidence of the Afghan people in efforts to build a just,

    peaceful, and law-abiding state.

    It is vital that the International and Afghan military forces thoroughly review the

    conduct of this operation in order to prevent a repeat of this tragic incident. I offer my

    sincere condolences to all those families who have suffered and offer every

    assistance to the authorities as they work to help the survivors.

    I want to remind all parties engaged in the conflict that the protection of civilians must

    be their primary concern; they must respect their duties under international

    humanitarian and human rights law to protect the people we are here to serve.

    Kabul, 26 August 2008.


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