Civilian Death Toll Controversy

Govt. claimed 140 civilians were killed in Farah, while there were two dozen new graves.

Govt. claimed 140 civilians were killed in Farah, while there were two dozen new graves.

News from a conflict zone has always been controversial. Be it Taliban claiming responsibility for attacking foreign troops, or the Government outcry civilian deaths, all incidents lack independent reporting, thus lead to controversies.

The US says the civilian death toll by the Government has been hugely exaggerated. Last week the government had claimed that as many as 140 civilians were killed in a US aerial strike in Bala Buluk village of Farah Province.  Pentagon officials say their investigation and the video evidences of the strike shows 20 civilians came under fire while Taliban were using them as shelter hiding in private houses. US Military says 60 Taliban were killed, while the Government reduces this number.

Two weeks ago  a group of 300 Taliban insurgents came in villages of Bala Buluk and attacked police killing three. The US aerial support was called by the provincial Governor. The Government statistics of “civilian deaths” were based on claims made by people from the place of incident, who are not confirmed whether they were the remaining of those 300 Taliban insurgents or local villagers. Government had said the victims did not include militants while the US officials say 60 Taliban have been killed.

Attacks by Taliban have always killed more civilian than troops. They often use civilians as shelter to attack foreign forces. Recent incident of the Farah Province is an example where Taliban terrorists were hiding among local population. On the other hand, Government–mostly Karzai himself directly–make public statements claiming huge civilian casualties without any proper investigation. For example the recent claim of 140 “civilian deaths” were made immediately after the incident based on what some people from the ground had said.  People that shelter or hide Taliban in their homes are equally guilty of giving refuge to a terrorist, but the Government has never condemned Taliban publicly for not using civilians as shelter. Karzai has been calling upon them for “negotiations”. It proves the civilian death tolls by the Government is more a pressure tool aimed at political ambitions with crocodile tears.

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