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Afghan war kills three children a day: report

Afghan war kills three children a day: report

AFP
January 8, 2010

KABUL — Children are the biggest victims of the war in Afghanistan, with more than 1,050 people under 18 years old killed last year alone, according to an Afghan human rights watchdog.

Taliban-linked militants caused around 64 percent of all violent child deaths last year, the Afghanistan Rights Monitor (ARM) said in a report.

Children were also press-ganged, sexually exploited, deprived of health and education, and illegally detained by all sides in a war that is dragging into its ninth year since the US-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime.

“At least three children were killed in war-related incidents every day in 2009 and many others suffered in diverse but mostly unreported ways,” ARM director Ajmal Samadi said.

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Pakistan: Over 700 Civilians Killed in US Drone Strikes

Pakistan: Over 700 Civilians Killed in US Drone Strikes

Dawn News
January 3, 2009

PESHAWAR: Of the 44 predator strikes carried out by US drones in the tribal areas of Pakistan over the past 12 months, only five were able to hit their actual targets, killing five key Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, but at the cost of over 700 innocent civilians.

According to the statistics compiled by Pakistani authorities, the Afghanistan-based US drones killed 708 people in 44 predator attacks targeting the tribal areas between January 1 and December 31, 2009.

For each Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist killed by US drones, 140 innocent Pakistanis also had to die. Over 90 per cent of those killed in the deadly missile strikes were civilians, claim authorities.

The success percentage for the drone hits during 2009 was hardly 11 per cent. On average, 58 civilians were killed in these attacks every month, 12 persons every week and almost two people every day. Most of the attacks were carried out on the basis of human intelligence, reportedly provided by the Pakistani and Afghan tribesmen, who are spying for the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan.

Of the five successful predator attacks carried out in 2009, the first one came on January 1, which reportedly killed two senior al-Qaeda leaders – Usama al-Kin and Sheikh Ahmed Salim – both wanted by the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Kin was the chief operational commander of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and had replaced Abu Faraj Al Libi after his arrest in 2004.

The second successful drone attack was conducted on August 5 in South Waziristan that killed the most wanted fugitive chief of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Baitullah Mehsud along with his wife.

The US State Department had announces a $5million head money for information leading to Baitullah, making him the only Pakistani fugitive with the head money separately announced by Islamabad and Washington.

 



U.S. Strike on Yemen Kills 120, Including Children

U.S. Strike on Yemen Kills 120, Including Children

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E85mb3KM2uk

Obama Orders Military Strike on Yemen

 



US judge lets Blackwater/Xe mercs off the hook

US judge lets Blackwater/Xe mercs off the hook

Press TV
January 1, 2010

A US federal judge has dismissed criminal charges against five Blackwater/Xe security guards accused of fatally shooting 14 people in Baghdad in September 2007.

On Thursday, Judge Ricardo Urbina said US government prosecutors violated the defendants’ rights by using incriminating statements they had made under immunity during a State Department probe to build their case.

“The government used the defendants’ compelled statements to guide its charging decisions, to formulate its theory of the case, to develop investigatory leads, and ultimately to obtain the indictment in the case,” Urbina ruled.

“In short, the government had utterly failed to prove that it made no impermissible use of the defendants’ statement or that such use was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The Blackwater/Xe mercenaries had been charged with killing 14 Iraqi civilians and wounding 18 others using gunfire and grenades at a busy Baghdad intersection in September 2007.

They faced charges of manslaughter.

In a public relations move meant to clean up the company’s image, which was tarnished by incidents in which civilians were killed in the Iraq war, Blackwater Worldwide rebranded and changed its name to a futuristic new name, Xe (pronounced like the last letter of the alphabet), in February 2009.

However, there is still great animosity toward Blackwater/Xe in Iraq.

Many Iraqis believe the US military allowed Blackwater/Xe mercenaries to commit numerous war crimes against their compatriots with impunity, and the latest court ruling will only reinforce such sentiments.

 



U.S. Troops Accused of Executing 8 Afghan Children

U.S. Troops Accused of Executing 10 Afghan Civilians During Night Raid


Afghans burn Obama effigy over civilian deaths

The Times
December 30, 2009

Afghan investigators today accused US-led troops of dragging ten civilians from their beds and shooting them dead during a night raid.

Officials said that eight children and teenagers were among the dead and all but one of the victims were from the same family.

The reports led to angry protests in Kabul and Jalalabad, with children as young as 10 chanting “Death to America” and demanding foreign forces leave Afghanistan.

President Karzai sent a team of investigators to Narang district, in Kunar province, after reports emerged of a massacre. “The delegation concluded that a unit of international forces descended from a plane on Sunday night into Ghazi Khan village in Narang district of the eastern province of Kunar and took ten people from three homes, eight of them school students in grades six, nine and 10, one of them a guest, the rest from the same family, and shot them dead,” a statement on President Karzai’s website said.

Asked if the people were shot outside their homes, the President’s spokesman Waheed Omar said: “That is our understanding.”

Local elders confirmed that ten people were killed, but their accounts of raid differed.

“Three of the children were killed in their bedroom,” said a local elder Jan Mohammed. “The other five had their hands bound, then they were killed.”

According to the presidential statement, local US forces were “unaware of the incident”.

Investigators spoke to the headmaster of the local school who confirmed that all the children – aged 11 to 17 – were his students.

A spokesman for the US-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) was not immediately available for comment on the allegations.

A senior Western military official said that US Special Forces had been conducting operations in the area, separately from Isaf.

Military officials insisted the dead were all part of a cell responsible for manufacturing improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

“This was a joint operation that was conducted against an IED cell that Afghan and US officials had been developing information against for some time,” a senior Nato source said.

 



U.S. Pumps $70 Million in Security Aid to Yemen

U.S. Pumps $70 Million in Security Aid to Yemen

Yemen Post
December 25, 2009

The U.S. pumped about $ 70 million in security aid to Yemen in 2009, with the aim to thwart the expansion of Al-Qaeda in the country amid fears by the west the Yemen may become a safe haven for terrorism, U.S. reports have noted.

The U.S. support to Yemen in the security field did not only focus on giving funds, but also sending military experts to train Yemeni troops how to counter terror as well as taking part in operations against Al-Qaeda targets, they added.

U.S. drones were said to have helped Yemeni security forces to raid Al-Qaeda hideouts and training sites in the south and north at the ends of the past two weeks, killing and arresting scores of terrorist suspects including leaders.

Many civilians were also among the dead in the internationally-hailed but locally-protested raids in Abyan, Sana’a and Shabwa.

The help from U.S. military equipment came to demonstrate an increase in the U.S. support to Yemen financially and logistically and amid reluctance by the U.S. determined to close its jail in Guantanamo, Cuba, where the Yemeni inmates make up half of the jailed there.

The U.S. support also included providing intelligence information about terrorists in Yemen that help the success of the recent raids.

The reports, citing U.S. official who paid visits to Yemen, also noted that the U.S. existence in the country is in a surge, with some unnamed officials saying all support comes under Yemen’s request.

The officials, however, distanced the U.S. from direct involvement in the war between the army and the Houthi insurgents in the far north.

 



Obama Orders Military Strike on Yemen

Obama Orders Military Strike on Yemen

Press TV
December 18, 2009

Yemen’s Houthi fighters say scores of civilians, including many children, have been killed in US air-raids in the southeast of the war-stricken Arab country.

The Shia fighters on Friday reported the deaths of 63 people, including some 28 children, in the southeastern province of Abyan.

Almost 90 people were also injured in the attacks by US warplanes in the village of Bakazam, they added.

Yemen’s southern provinces have recently been the scene of US airstrikes which Washington claims to be aimed at uprooting an al-Qaeda cell operative in the Persian Gulf state.

But the residents of the area dismiss the claims that al-Qaeda members are being targeted in the US attacks, while a Yemeni lawmaker has also called for an investigation into the raids.

The US operation in southern Yemen comes on top of a joint Saudi-Yemeni military campaign in the country’s war-weary north where Sana’a and Riyadh forces are engaged in a fierce fighting against the Houthi fighters.

The Houthis, who accuse the Sunni-dominated Sana’a government of discrimination and repression against Yemen’s Shia minority, were the target of the army’s off and on attacks before the central government launched an all-out fighting against them in early August.

Saudi Arabia joined the operation later following alleged clashes between its border guards and the Houthis, carrying out regular airstrikes and ground incursions against the fighters.

On Friday, the Houthis said over 160 missiles hit regions along the border with the neighboring kingdom, which they accuse of pounding civilians in villages within the Yemeni territory.

The Saudis have conducted more than 70 air raids in less than 24 hours.

 

Saudi warplanes rain ‘1,011 missiles’ on Yemen

Press TV
December 19, 2009

Houthi fighters say Saudi warplanes have fired some 1,011 missiles on the borderline with Yemen where the Shia population is already under heavy state-led and US-aided bombardment.

The fighters also said on Saturday that the warplanes had carried out nearly 60 air assaults on the residential areas in the northern Al-Jabiri, Al-Dukhan and Al-Malaheet districts.

Saudi Arabia joined Sana’a’s months-long fierce armed campaign against the Shia fighters in November.

The Houthis are accused by the central government of breaking the terms of a ceasefire agreement by taking foreign visitors hostage. The Saudis, on their part, claimed that the fighters had attacked one of their border checkpoints.

The fighters denounce the offensives as a discriminatory campaign against the Shia minority under Riyadh’s auspices.

The offensives, meanwhile, have been taking their toll on the locals with the Saudis reportedly venturing beyond the Houthi positions, targeting civilian areas and using unconventional weaponry including flesh-eating white phosphorus bombs.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that since 2004, the conflict has forced up to 175,000 people in the Shia-dominated northwestern province of Sa’ada out of their homes and into overcrowded camps set up by the United Nations.

The US military equipment and intelligence have reportedly entered the equation in the recent days.

The US special forces have reportedly been sent to Yemen to provide the national army with training services. The US Air Force is also said to have been sporadically pounding the northern areas since Monday.

The Houthis said US attacks on Thursday killed 120 civilians, among whom were women and children. Also on Saturday, a report on the Houthis’ website said that three civilians, including a woman and a child, had been killed in fresh air raids carried out by US warplanes.