Just a brief glimpse into the raw Wikileaks data reveals an increasingly untenable situation for American soldiers there. It’s true, as many apologists for the war have noted, that US soldiers, especially at checkpoints, are in quite difficult and even impossible situations. That doesn’t excuse on any level the following, it only makes it more necessary for us to get these soldiers out of there. Not so much for their own benefit, but for the benefit of the Afghans they are maiming and killing in their frantic efforts to protect themselves from the understandably frightened and/or furious people whose land they’re occupying:
—>AFG20070419n629—1 KIA, 1 WIA…A WHOLE LINE OF VEHICLES LINED UP BEHIND THE CORDONNED AREA SHOWN BY ORANGE CONES. THEN, A VEHICLE BYPASSED ALL THE STOPPED VEHICLES, HIT THE ORANGE CONES, THE GUNNER FIRED A WARNING SHOT JUST ABOVE THE VEHICLE. THE VEHICLE KEPT COMING, THE GUNNER FIRED MORE WARNING SHOTS. GUNNER THEN ENGAGED THE VEHICLE WITH HIS M4. AS A RESULT, A REAR PASSENGER LN RECEIVED GRAZING SHOT TO THE HEAD.
THE LN (14 YEAR OLD FEMALE0 THAT SET OF VIA GROUND CONVOY WAS DETERMINED TO BE DOA AT FOB SALERNO. FURTHERMORE, A 2 YEAR OLD GIRL THAT WAS IN THE LN VEHICLE ALSO HAD GLASS IN ONE EYE. THE MEDEVAC ARRIVED AND TOOK HER TO FOB SALERNO WHERE SHE IS UNDERGOING SURGERY. ISAF 04-362
…A patrol moved to the scene and assisted Rock with the investigation. Our BN LEP was on scene and took statements from local nationals that stated escalation of force was plainly evident and the individual in the vehicle was wrong for attempting to circumvent the control measures emplaced for safety and standoff. The vehicle in question was searched and found to have no explosives.
The BN S5 submitted Solatia paperwork for 100,000 afghani for the death, 20,000 afghani for the injury and 10,000 afghani for the vehicle.
The battalion commander has crafted a letter of condolence.
shooting of a Local National 21 March 2007
3. Delayed report from TF Catamount
S- 1 LN
A- Fled and failed to respond to escalation of force
L- Malekshay Village 42S WB 30529 08120
T- 21 Mar 07
R- Escalation of force, warning shots, wounding shot to leg.
LN was a deaf mute unable to hear the warnings or warning shots. Ran out of fear and confusion.
Information gained from SHURA to TF Catamount about Element operation
Details: OGA operating in TF Catamount sector moved into Malekshay for operation. LN Shum Khan ran at the sight of the approaching CF”s. CF utilized the escalation of force doctrine and shouted to stop, fired warning shots and then fired to wound. The LN was hit in the ankle and treated by Element medics on scene. It was determined through discussions with local Elders that the man was a deaf mute that was nervous of the CF operation. Solatia was made in the form of supplies and the Element mission progressed.
((DELAYED REPORT)) SUMMARY- 1-4 IN ELEMENT (RCP 2) WAS ESCORTING A JINGLE TRUCK CARRYING A RECOVERED VEHICLE THROUGH 2 FURY AO ALONG MSR OHIO WHEN THE JINGLE TRUCK BECAME STUCK IN THE MUD JUST OFF THE ROAD. 1-4 IN SET UP A CHECK POINT VIC VC 43000 06000 WHILE THE JINGLE TRUCK WAS RECOVERED. A LOCAL NATIONAL VEHICLE RAN THE CHECK POINT AND THE 1-4 IN PERSONNEL MANNING THE CP FIRED UPON THE VEHICLE. 3 LOCAL NATIONALS IN THE VEHICLE WERE WOUNDED AS A RESULT AND THE 1-4 IN MEDIC BEGAN TO ADMINISTER AID IMMEDIATELY. THE LOCAL NATIONALS WERE TRANSPORTED TO THE GHAZNI CITY HOSPITAL IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE INCIDENT. 1-4 IN PERSONNEL/ VEHICLES MOVED TO FOB GHAZNI.
UPDATE FROM GHAZNI HOSPITAL AT 061730 MAR SAID ALL LOCAL NATIONALS WERE STABLE AND WERE RELEASED FROM THE HOSPITAL IN 2-3 DAYS. 2 SUFFERED GSW (1 TO LOWER RIGHT LEG, 1 TO LEFT FOREARM) AND 1 SUFFERED GRAZE WOUND (HEAD). GHAZNI PRT PA AND 2 FURY SURGEON FROM FOB GHAZNI OFFERED TO ASSIST BUT GHAZNI HOSPITAL DECLINED.
REPORT FROM THE PCC STATED THAT THE LNs OFTEN RUN THROUGH HASTY CPs AT UKNOWN LOCATIONS DUE TO THE FACT THAT OFTENTIMES TALIBAN ARE DRESSED IN UNIFORM AND DEMAND MONEY. THIS MAY BE THE REASON WHY THESE 3 X LNs RAN THE CP.
—>AFG20070314n696—-One Civilian KIA
At 0513Z TF Bushmaster reported a jingle truck rushed their convoy 35km NW of Spin Buldak. The Bushmaster element engaged the vehicle and killed the driver. ANP assistance requested. Event closed at 0528Z.
– ANP set up a road block at an intersection approx 200m in front of the convoy
– A JINGA truck approached the RB, accelerated, went off the road to drive around the RB and entered the road coming in the direction of CJSOTF
– CJSOTF attempted to wave off the truck which did not respond.
– CJSOTF fired two rounds into the engine.
– One round ricocheted into the cab, hit the driver in the arm and exited in his back. Driver died of wounds shortly afterwards
– The ANP secured the truck and the TC for questioning.
– Nothing was found on the truck when it was searched.
– CJSOTF called the ANP to follow up and collaborate the story
– ANP agree with everything reported by CJSOTF
– ANP believe this might have been an attempt to test US / ANSF TTPs for future suicide attacks based on warnings found in night letters
At 0845 TF Uruzgan reported 1 local national driving a vehicle. Suspect SVBIED vehicle (Red Hilux) was indicated to stop, vehicle sped up towards AUS forces, AUS forces engaged with 5 rounds small arms fire. 1 Local national KIA. Securing site, EOD to exploit. At 1118Z TF Uruzgan reported event handed over to local authorities. Event closed at 1126Z. EOD determined that the vehicle was not a SVBIED. ISAF tracking # 07-581.
A powerful account that fleshes out the bones of the terse reports above and shows the hubris and mendacity that have been the hallmarks of the US troop presence in Afghanistan, as frightened troops often kill indiscriminately simply to make sure they remain safe. From the Guardian via Glenn Greenwald’s Twitter. It’s worth reading in it’s entirety:
It started with a suicide bomb. On 4 March 2007 a convoy of US marines, who arrived in Afghanistan three weeks earlier, were hit by an explosives-rigged minivan outside the city of Jalalabad.
The marines made a frenzied escape, opening fire with automatic weapons as they tore down a six-mile stretch of highway, hitting almost anyone in their way – teenage girls in fields, motorists in their cars, old men as they walked along the road. Nineteen unarmed civilians were killed and 50 wounded.
None of this, however, was captured in the initial military account, written by the marines themselves…
Two hours later Americans returned to the scene of the bombing to conduct an “exploitation of the blast site with pictures/grid cords as well as debriefing ANP leadership on scene”. Journalists on the spot gave a more detailed account. They said angry marines tore their cameras from their hands, insisting they delete the pictures they had taken of bullet-pocked vehicles on the roadside. Rahmat Gul, a freelance photographer working for the Associated Press, said two soldiers and a translator came up to him and asked: “Why are you taking pictures? You don’t have permission.” Then they deleted his photographs.
Later, Gul said, one of the soldiers came up to him and raised his arm, as if to hit him. Taqiullah Taqi, a reporter for the private Tolo TV channel, said the Americans told him through a translator: “Delete them, or we will delete you.”
But the Americans could not prevent anger surging through the local community. In those months, as the fighting escalated, concern about careless, trigger-happy Americans was rising in Afghanistan. The previous May, riots had spread across Kabul after a US military truck with faulty brakes careered into traffic, killing one man….