US pilots’ mistake to cost Washington dear
A tragic mistake committed by US pilots who dropped bombs on Afghani civilians, and when at least 40 people died, will cause many problems to the USA. In a word, Americans did the dirty on themselves, because anti-American sentiments in Afghanistan have become extremely strong within past days. The first after collapse of the Taliban rule anti-American demonstration consisting mostly of women in mourning clothes was held in Kabul on Thursday.
As it is traditionally done, the USA does not admit responsibility for the death of people; and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is extremely cynical with his statements. The other day he said: “Regarding the scale of present-day operations in Afghanistan, similar incidents are inevitable.” It is not comforting, however, for relatives of the people killed in the incident.
George W. Bush is smarter than Rumsfeld, he at least presented condolences to families of the killed Afghans and promised a thorough investigation of the case. For this very purpose an American-Afghani commission was set up. At the same time, there is no clear picture of what really happened in Afghanistan on Monday.
Americans originally stated that the people rather died not of bombing, but because of land fire. However, later the USA admitted the bombing fact, but shifted the responsibility onto Talibs. It was said, as reported from reliable sources, Talibs were in hiding in the village that suffered from bombing. In addition, after visiting the village, the US investigation commission discovered no confirmation to the death of over 40 people, as it had been reported earlier. Later, representatives of the US Defense Department indirectly admitted that, people celebrating wedding at the central Afghan province of Uruzgan were killed not by bombing, as it had been stated before, but by firing from the US battle planes. Did Americans know that they were firing civilians?
Uruzgan province governor Jaan Mohammad demanded that the USA should give up the informer who directed the US air forces against Afghani wedding party. He told journalists: “ If they (Americans) don't submit the informer to us, then they are our enemy. The Americans for sure know who this person is. We know him too, but we don't want to reveal his name."
Analysts are afraid that incidents of this kind only weaken positions of Hamid Karzai’s pro-western government. Hamid Karzai asked the USA several times already to co-ordinate such operations with his Ministry of Defense.
Ex-king of Afghanistan Zaher Shah has joined the investigation, that demonstrates importance of the situation. The ex-king, who is very popular in the country, sent his grandson Mustafa Zaher as his private envoy to the accident site. He is to present an independent report from the accident site to Kabul. Such attitude to the problem is treated in Kabul as public distrust to the Pentagon’s promise to thoroughly investigate the incident.
The Washington Post reported from the accident site on Friday: “A jumble of abandoned women's and children's sandals and a circle of vats full of half-cooked rice are all that is left of the wedding party here that ended in carnage when U.S. planes attacked this remote farming hamlet in southern Afghanistan.”
“The mud walls of the compound where villagers said several hundred women were celebrating are pocked with hundreds of bullet holes, apparently from an AC-130 gunship that raked the village Monday.”
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/07/05/43720.html