By Craig Considine
The death toll of yesterday’s US/NATO air strike on a caravan of buses ’suspected’ of transporting militants has risen from original reports of 19 to at least 27.
And just like in every other case where US/NATO made a ‘mistake’ and killed civilians, including in this case 4 women and one child – NATO forces chief Gen. Stanley McChrystal had to offer his ‘apology’ to Karzai and the Afghan people, as if this would sooth everything over and cover up the wounds of terror.
‘We are extremely saddened by the tragic loss of innocent life”, McChrystal said. ‘” have made it clear to our forces that we are here to protect the Afghan people and inadvertently killing or injuring civilians undermines their trust and confidence in our mission. We will redouble our effort to regain that trust”.
McChrystal’s rhetoric will only fly for so long. At one point or another, the people of Afghanistan will see how phony these ‘heart-felt’ apologies are, especially as the civilian death toll will only rise in the coming weeks, months, and years. How many times can you apologize for something before the apology becomes irrelevant and dismissed?
In fact, Afghanis may already see through the smokescreen. McChrystal is saying everything he needs to say, but does he really mean any of it? People need to start looking at the actions and results, not the ’sincere’ messages of grief.
The victims of this latest attack were Hazaras, an ethnic group from the central highlands of Afghanistan who have traditionally opposed Taliban rule. This largely Shia group was reportedly traveling to Iran. Perhaps the US/NATO force wanted to wipe them out as a stunt directed at Iran. It was also reported that this attack had nothing to do with Operation Mushtarak. That in itself is a cause for concern. Is the war spreading into new territories with new enemies?
According to reports, the vehicles carrying the Hazaras were destroyed. Bodies were so mutilated that they could hardly be identified.
Muhammad Hashim Watanwali is an MP from Uruzgan who is completely outraged at this latest attack. In an interview, he expressed his frustration with the Karzai government and the US/NATO force as they have repeatedly promised to stop civilian casualties.
Amanullah Hotak is head of Uruzgan’s provincial council. He said: ‘We don’t want their apologies or the money they always give after every attack. We want them to kill all of us together instead of doing it to us one by one’.