Our finest, operating with the highest honor
U.S. Admits Role in February Killing of Afghan Women
By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.
Published: April 4, 2010
The admission immediately raised questions about what really happened during the Feb. 12 operation — and what falsehoods followed — including a new report that Special Operations forces dug bullets out of the bodies of the women to hide the true nature of their deaths.
A NATO official also said Sunday in an interview that an Afghan-led team of investigators had found signs of evidence tampering at the scene, including the removal of bullets from walls near where the women were killed.
The disclosure could not come at a worse moment for the American military: NATO officials are struggling to contain fallout from a series of tirades against the foreign military presence by the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who has also railed against the killing of civilians by Western forces.
NATO military officials had already admitted killing two innocent civilians — a district prosecutor and local police chief — during the raid, on a home near Gardez in southeastern Afghanistan. The two men were shot to death when they came out of their home, armed with Kalashnikov rifles, to investigate.
Three women also died that night at the same home: One was a pregnant mother of 10 and another was a pregnant mother of six. NATO military officials had suggested that the women were actually stabbed to death — or had died by some other means — hours before the raid, an explanation that implied that family members or others at the home might have killed them.
I don't know how to respond to this, except with disgust, outrage and the feeling of impotence. This is what happens when we send people to do an impossible job in an environment alien to us, with an incompetent, corrupt so-called partner. I minimize - is there even a moral justification for being in Afghanistan, at all, even if it were not to do an impossible job in an alien environment with a disreputable and incompetent partner?