Prof. Marc Herold, The Afghan Victim Memorial Project
June, 11, 2008
At least 30 civilians killed in the village of Ebrahim Kariz, Mata Khan district of Paktika Province. US occupation forces launched an air and ground attack upon the village allegedly targeting a "militant hideout."
Residents said that dozens of civilians were killed. Haji Mangal, a tribal leader, told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) that "US aircraft bombed several houses in Ebrahim Kariz village and killed around 40 civilians…first the military forces bombed the area and then descended soldiers from helicopters," adding that the dead included women and children. Given the time of the attack (10 P.M.) this seems very probable.
Some hours later, An Afghan lawmaker from the province said he had spoken with several sources who told him 33 civilians were killed. 'I have information from the area that 33 people - including women, children, schoolteachers, school students - were killed in the air raid,' said Khalid Farouqi, member of the Afghan parliament. Farouqi said government sources told him eight of the dead were Taliban militants but added, 'I have accurate information from the area that all of them are civilians.'
U.S. occupation forces admitted that the dead included three women and a boy, but quickly shifted the blame in the scripted manner according to the tried practices of military news management: a senior U.S. military spokeswoman trained in "public relations", Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green in Kabul called it "tragic" that civilians died because "militants" had put them in harm’s way. Amen.
The reporting by the news agencies is revealing. The wire story headlines were:
"U.S.-led Forces say Kill 4 Afghan Civilians in Raid" (Reuters on June 11 at 3:12 AM EDT)
"US Airstrikes Kill Several Afghan Civilians, say Survivors" (DPA on June 11 at 7:54 GMT)
"Four Civilians, Several Rebels Killed in Afghan Raid: US Forces" (AFP on June 11 at 4 AM EDT)
"Afghan Officials: 31 Killed in Airstrikes" (Associated Press on June 11 at 5:30 AM EDT)
"US Coalition: 4 Afghan Civilians, Militants Killed" (Associated Press on June 11 at 3 AM EDT)"
"35 Civilians Killed in Paktika Operation" (Pajhwok Afghan News on June 11 at about 6:45 AM EDT)
"US Airstrikes Kill 33 Civilians, says Afghan Lawmaker" (DPA on June 11 at 11:28 GMT)
As usual, the Associated Press serves as diligent stenographer of the Pentagon’s virtual reality, whereas DPA quotes survivors and local officials saying over 30 civilians were killed. The local independent Pajhwok Afghan News headlined 35 civilians killed in Paktika operation.