Abdul Waheed Wafa, New York Times
November 29th, 2007
A NATO airstrike killed 14 labourers working for an Afghan road construction company that had been contracted by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to build a road in the mountainous province of Nuristan in eastern Afghanistan, officials said.
The strike occurred late Monday night in the Norgram district of Nuristan when the Afghan workers of Amerifa Road Construction Company were sleeping in tents after a day's work.(Amerifa are a substantial company - website here)
"Fourteen of our mechanics and laborers were killed as they were asleep in their tents," said Nurullah Jalali, the executive director of the construction company. "We just collected pieces of flesh from our tired workers and put them in 14 coffins."
The victims of the episode on Monday night were all Afghans who were working for $5 a day, Mr. Jalali said)pic). His company has been contracted to build 273 miles of road in 10 Afghan provinces, and the major contracts are with the American military.
"We have 14 names, we know their families, we have their photos and post-bombing photos of their bodies," Amerifa construction company chief Sayed Nurrullah Jalili told AFP.
The governor of Nuristan, Tamim Nuristani, said he could confirm that 13 workers had been "mistakenly" killed when NATO forces bombed the area based on what he said was an intelligence report that insurgents were infiltrating the area.
The project is financed by the United States military, and the road has been under construction for a year through areas that the Afghan government barely controls.
Maj. Charles Anthony, a NATO spokesman confirmed that the airstrike had been a mission by NATO’s International Security Assistance Force and said that Taliban insurgents had been the intended target.
Dontcha just love that ..."Security Assistance Force"
"We are here to help you, but it will be necessary to destroy your village to save it."
Do you think the wise men assembled in EDinburgh today will give the briefest consideration to the above .. or even care ?
The Good News ...>
Major Anthony said ...
“I can confirm that at this time, we, ISAF, believe that we were able to successfully target a Taliban leader in that area and at that time,” he said. “As far as the allegation of civilian casualties goes, that is under investigation.”
Lord Patel will keep you posted.... The BBC so far have reported 29th November
"Evidence so far collected by ISAF investigators strongly points to a successful air strike earlier this week against a known Taleban leader in Nurgaram District of Nuristan province and that there were no civilian casualties," a statement issued by Isaf spokesman Brig Gen Carlos Branco, said." (His NATO Press statement can be read here)
They also report "On Wednesday Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said: "We believe that Abdullah Jan, the western Nuristan Taleban commander, may have been killed in the air strike. We deem it, at this point, a legitimate air strike."
Funny thing that 2 weeks after there are no further press reports of the incident. Mr Jalili is lying or ISAF spokesmen are... and we don't have a dead Talibani to show for it.