NATO admits again killing Afghan civilians after denial

Nobody said that fighting a war against insurgents would be easy. In fact President Bush said this war would be long and tough and not like any other we have ever fought before. I know Gen McChrystal wants to have zero tolerance on civilian casualties, but it is war and the Zero Tolerance mentality of the Army school houses and UCMJ do not always easily apply to the battlefield. Sh!t happens and sometime that stuff is bad. This is a shame and very sad, but it is a fact of life.

War is hell, because if it were easy people would want to do it all the time.

The NATO-led force in Afghanistan acknowledged on Wednesday it had killed four Afghan civilians when it opened fire on a car in the southeast of the country this week after initially saying two of the dead were insurgents.

The youngest boy was just 13, said Rahmatullah Mansour, whose two sons and two nephews were killed in the shooting.

The father of two of the victims in Monday’s shooting, Mansoor, a judge in Khost’s provincial court, said three of those killed were teenagers and the fourth was an off-duty policeman in his 20s.

The four were gunned down in their car as they were returning from a volleyball match, he told Reuters on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, NATO said it had opened fire on a vehicle in southeastern Khost province on the evening of April 19, killing two “known insurgents” and two “associates”.

On Wednesday, NATO said it initially described two of the victims as insurgents because their fingerprints matched those in a military biometric database. But their presence in the database does not necessarily mean they were insurgents.

Mansour said that the victims in Monday’s shooting were his sons Faizullah, 13, and Nasratullah, 17; and nephews Maiwand and Amirullah, both 18. He said all were students except Amirullah, who was a police officer.

“My two brothers and I lost sons. It was difficult even to recognize their bodies because there were bullet holes in their face, chest, hands and feet.”

Asked whether that meant all of those killed were civilians, NATO spokesman Master Sergeant Jeffrey Loftin said: “Yes, sir.”

None of the four were armed and no weapons were found, Vician said.

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