Kabul May 22– News from a conflict zone has always been controversial. Be it Taliban claiming responsibility for attacking foreign troops, or the Government outcry civilian deaths, all incidents lack independent reporting, thus lead to controversies.
The US says the civilian death toll by the Government has been hugely exaggerated. Last week the government had claimed that as many as 140 civilians were killed in a US aerial strike in Bala Buluk village of Farah Province. Pentagon officials say their investigation and the video evidences of the strike shows 20 civilians came under fire while Taliban were using them as shelter hiding in private houses. US Military says 60 Taliban were killed, while the Government reduces the number.
Two weeks ago a group of 300 Taliban insurgents came in villages of Bala Buluk and attacked police killing three. The US aerial support was called by the provincial Governor. The Government statistics of “civilian deaths” were based on claims made by people from the place of incident, who are not confirmed whether they were the remaining of those 300 Taliban insurgents or local villagers. Government had said the victims did not include militants while the US officials say 60 Taliban have been killed.
Attacks by Taliban have always killed more civilian than troops. They often use civilians as shelter to attack foreign forces. Recent incident of the Farah Province is an example where Taliban terrorists were hiding among local population. On the other hand, Government–mostly Karzai himself directly–make public statements claiming huge civilian casualties without any proper investigation. For example the recent claim of 140 “civilian deaths” were made immediately after the incident based on what some people from the ground had said. People that shelter or hide Taliban in their homes are equally guilty of giving refuge to a terrorist, but the Government has never condemned Taliban publicly for not using civilians as shelter. Karzai has been calling upon them for “negotiations”.
The irresponsible public statements from Karzai with provoking tone against foreign troops is aimed at political aspirations. He want to use “civilian deaths” as a pressure option against US as well as to gain sympathy and his lost popularity among masses. During visit of the mosque in Farah with US Ambassador, Karzai announced to send the relatives of the victims to Hajj.Villagers assured their full support to Karzai in the August elections.
Karzai’s crocodile tears on “civilian deaths” shows he is more part of the trouble, than solution. He creates hatred among masses towards the international efforts made for Afghanistan. Using humanitarian issues for one’s political aspirations is devilish.