Archive for afghanistan

U.S. spent $ 1 Trillion in war against Islam

Posted in USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2008 by indonesiaunderground

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Written by http://www.daily.pk

Sunday, 28 December 2008 19:46

The news that President Bush’s so-called “war on terrorism” (on other word war on Islam) soon will have cost the U.S. taxpayers $ 1 trillion – and counting – is unlikely to spread much Christmas cheer in these tough economic times.

A trio of recent reports – none by the Bush Administration – suggests that sometime early in the Obama presidency, spending on the wars started since 9/11 will pass the trillion-dollar mark. Even after adjusting for inflation, that’s four times more than America spent fighting World War I, and more than 10 times the cost of 1991’s Persian Gulf War (90 % of which was paid for by U.S. allies). The war on “terrorism” looks set to surpass the costs the Korean and Vietnam wars combined, topped only by World War II’s price tag of $ 3.5 trillion.

The cost of sending a single soldier to fight for a year in Afghanistan or Iraq is about $ 775,000 – three times more than in other recent wars, says a new report from the private but authoritative Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). A large chunk of the increase is a result of the Administration’s cramming new military hardware into the emergency budget bills it has been using to pay for the wars. (See pictures of U.S. troops in Iraq.)

These costs, of course, pale alongside the price paid by the nearly 5,000 U.S. troops who have lost their lives in the conflicts – not to mention the wounded – and the families of all the casualties. And President Bush insists that their sacrifice and the expenditure on the wars have helped prevent a repeat of 9/11. “We could not afford to wait for the terrorists to attack again,” he said last week at the Army War College. “So we launched a global campaign to take the fight to the terrorists abroad, to dismantle their networks, to dry up their financing and find their leaders and bring them to justice.”

But many Americans may suffer a moment of sticker shock from the conclusions of the CSBA report and similar assessments from the Government Accounting Office (GAO) and Congressional Research Service (CRS), which make clear that the nearly $ 1 trillion already spent is only a down payment on the war’s long-term costs. The trillion-dollare figure does not, for example, include long-term health care for veterans, thousands of whom have suffered crippling wounds, or the interest payments on the money borrowed by the Federal Government to fund the war. The bottom lines of the three assessments vary: the CSBA study says $ 904 billion has been spent so far, while the GAO says the Pentagon alone has spent $ 808 billion through last September. The CRS study says the wars have cost $ 864 billion, but CRS didn’t factor inflation into its calculations.

Sifting through Pentagon data, the CSBA study breaks down the total costs of the “war on terrorism” as $ 687 billion for Iraq, $ 184 billion for Afghanistan and $ 33 billion for homeland security. By 2018, depending on how many U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan and Iraq, the total cost is projected to likely be between $ 1.3 trillion and $ 1.7 trillion. On the safe assumption that the wars are being waged with borrowed money, interest payments raise the cost by an additional $ 600 billion through 2018.

Shortly before the Iraq war began, White House economic adviser Larry Lindsey earned a rebuke from within the Administration when he said the war could cost as much as $ 200 billion. “It’s not knowable what a war or conflict like that would cost,” Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld said. “You don’t know if it’s going to last two days or two weeks or two months. It certainly isn’t going to last two years.”

According to the CSBA study, the Administration has fudged the war’s true costs in two ways. Borrowing money to fund the wars is one way of conducting them on the cheap, at least in the short term. But just as pernicious has been the Administration’s novel way of budgeting for them. Previous wars were funded through the annual appropriations process, with emergency spending – which gets far less congressional scrutiny – used only for the initial stages of a conflict. But the Bush Administration relied on such supplemental appropriations to fund the wars until 2008, seven years after invading Afghanistan and five years after storming Iraq.

“For these wars, we have relied on supplemental appropriations for far longer than in the case of past conflicts,” says Steven Kosiak of the CSBA, one of Washington’s top defense-budget analysts. “Likewise, we have relied on borrowing to cover more of these costs than we have in earlier wars – which will likely increase the ultimate price we have to pay.” That refusal to spell out the full cost can lead to unwise spending increases elsewhere in the federal budget or unwarranted tax cuts. “A sound budgeting process forces policymakers to recognize the true costs of their policy choices,” Kosiak adds. “Not only did we not raise taxes, we cut taxes and significantly expanded spending.”

The bottom line: Bush’s projections of future defense spending “substantially understate” just how much money it will take to run Obama’s Pentagon, the CSBA says in its report. Luckily, Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to hang around to try to iron out the problem.

Source : http://www.daily.pk

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Afghanistan, Another Untold Story

Posted in Terrorism, USA, Who is The Real Terrorist? with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2008 by indonesiaunderground

by Michael Parenti

Barack Obama is on record as advocating a military escalation in Afghanistan. Before sinking any deeper into that quagmire, we might do well to learn something about recent Afghan history and the role played by the United States.

Less than a month after the 11 September  2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, US leaders began an all-out aerial assault upon Afghanistan, the country purportedly harboring Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist organization. More than twenty years earlier, in 1980, the United States intervened to stop a Soviet “invasion” of that country. Even some leading progressive writers, who normally take a more critical view of US policy abroad, treated the US intervention against the Soviet-supported government as “a good thing.” The actual story is not such a good thing.

Some Real History

Since feudal times the landholding system in Afghanistan had remained unchanged, with more than 75 percent of the land owned by big landlords who comprised only 3 percent of the rural population. In the mid-1960s, democratic revolutionary elements coalesced to form the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In 1973, the king was deposed, but the government that replaced him proved to be autocratic, corrupt, and unpopular. It in turn was forced out in 1978 after a massive demonstration in front of the presidential palace, and after the army intervened on the side of the demonstrators.

The military officers who took charge invited the PDP to form a new government under the leadership of Noor Mohammed Taraki, a poet and novelist. This is how a Marxist-led coalition of national democratic forces came into office. “It was a totally indigenous happening. Not even the CIA blamed the USSR for it,” writes John Ryan, a retired professor  at the University of Winnipeg, who was conducting an agricultural research project in Afghanistan at about that time.

The Taraki government proceeded to legalize labor unions, and set up a minimum wage,  a progressive income tax, a literacy campaign, and programs that gave ordinary people greater access to health care, housing, and public sanitation. Fledgling peasant cooperatives were started and price reductions on some key foods were imposed.

The government also continued a campaign begun by the king to emancipate women from their age-old tribal bondage. It provided public education for girls and for the children of various tribes.
A report in the San Francisco Chronicle (17 November 2001) noted that under the Taraki regime Kabul had been “a cosmopolitan city. Artists and hippies flocked to the capital. Women studied agriculture, engineering and business at the city’s university. Afghan women held government jobs—-in the 1980s, there were seven female members of parliament. Women drove cars, traveled and went on dates. Fifty percent of university students were women.”

The Taraki government moved to eradicate the cultivation of opium poppy. Until then Afghanistan had been producing more than 70 percent of the opium needed for the world’s heroin supply. The government also abolished all debts owed by farmers, and began developing a major land reform program. Ryan believes that it was a “genuinely popular government and people looked forward to the future with great hope.”

But serious opposition arose from several quarters. The feudal landlords opposed the land reform program that infringed on their holdings. And tribesmen and fundamentalist mullahs vehemently opposed the government’s dedication to gender equality and the education of women and children.

Because of its egalitarian and collectivist economic policies the Taraki government also incurred the opposition of the US national security state. Almost immediately after the PDP coalition came to power, the CIA, assisted by Saudi and Pakistani military, launched a large scale intervention into Afghanistan on the side of the ousted feudal lords, reactionary tribal chieftains, mullahs, and opium traffickers.

A top official within the Taraki government was Hafizulla Amin, believed by many to have been recruited by the CIA during the several years he spent in the United States as a student. In September 1979, Amin seized state power in an armed coup. He executed Taraki, halted the reforms, and murdered, jailed, or exiled thousands of Taraki supporters as he moved toward establishing a fundamentalist Islamic state. But within two months, he was overthrown by PDP remnants including elements within the military.

It should be noted that all this happened before  the Soviet military intervention. National security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski publicly admitted–months before Soviet troops entered the country–that the Carter administration was providing huge sums to Muslim extremists to subvert the reformist government. Part of that effort involved brutal attacks by the CIA-backed mujahideen against schools and teachers in rural areas.

In late 1979, the seriously besieged PDP government asked Moscow to send a contingent of troops to help ward off the mujahideen (Islamic guerrilla fighters) and foreign mercenaries, all recruited, financed, and well-armed by the CIA. The Soviets already had been sending aid for projects in mining, education, agriculture, and public health. Deploying troops represented a commitment of a more serious and politically dangerous sort. It took repeated requests from Kabul before Moscow agreed to intervene militarily.

Jihad and Taliban, CIA Style

The Soviet intervention was a golden opportunity for the CIA to transform the tribal resistance into a holy war, an Islamic jihad to expel the godless communists from Afghanistan. Over the years the United States and Saudi Arabia expended about $40 billion on the war in Afghanistan. The CIA and its allies recruited, supplied, and trained almost 100,000 radical mujahideen from forty Muslim countries including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, and Afghanistan itself.  Among those who answered the call was Saudi-born millionaire right-winger Osama bin Laden and his cohorts.

After a long and unsuccessful war, the Soviets evacuated the country in February 1989. It is generally thought that the PDP Marxist government collapsed immediately after the Soviet departure. Actually, it retained enough popular support to fight on for another three years, outlasting the Soviet Union itself by a year.

Upon taking over Afghanistan, the mujahideen fell to fighting among themselves.  They ravaged the cities, terrorized civilian populations, looted, staged mass executions, closed schools, raped thousands of women and girls, and reduced half of Kabul to rubble. In 2001 Amnesty International reported that the mujahideen used sexual assault as “a method of intimidating vanquished populations and rewarding soldiers.’”

Ruling the country gangster-style and looking for lucrative sources of income, the tribes ordered farmers to plant opium poppy. The Pakistani ISI, a close junior partner to the CIA, set up hundreds of heroin laboratories across Afghanistan. Within two years of the CIA’s arrival, the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderland became the biggest producer of heroin in the world.

Largely created and funded by the CIA, the mujahideen mercenaries now took on a life of their own. Hundreds of them returned home to Algeria, Chechnya, Kosovo, and Kashmir to carry on terrorist attacks in Allah’s name against the purveyors of secular “corruption.”

In Afghanistan itself,  by 1995 an extremist strain of Sunni Islam called the Taliban—heavily funded and advised by the ISI and the CIA and with the support of Islamic political parties in Pakistan—fought its way to power, taking over most of the country, luring many tribal chiefs into its fold with threats and bribes.

The Taliban promised to end the factional fighting and banditry that was the mujahideen trademark. Suspected murderers and spies were executed monthly in the sports stadium, and those accused of thievery had the offending hand sliced off.  The Taliban condemned forms of “immorality” that included premarital sex, adultery, and homosexuality. They also outlawed all music, theater, libraries, literature, secular education, and much scientific research.

The Taliban unleashed a religious reign of terror, imposing an even stricter interpretation of Muslim law than used by most of the Kabul clergy. All men were required to wear untrimmed beards and women had to wear the burqa which covered them from head to toe, including their faces. Persons who were slow to comply were dealt swift and severe punishment by the Ministry of Virtue. A woman who fled an abusive home or charged spousal abuse would herself be severely whipped by the theocratic authorities. Women were outlawed from social life, deprived of most forms of medical care, barred from all levels of education, and any opportunity to work outside the home. Women who were deemed “immoral” were stoned to death or buried alive.

None of this was of much concern to leaders in Washington who got along famously with the Taliban. As recently as 1999, the US government was paying the entire annual salary of every single Taliban government official. Not until October 2001, when President George W. Bush had to rally public opinion behind his bombing campaign in Afghanistan did he denounce the Taliban’s oppression of women. His wife, Laura Bush, emerged overnight as a full-blown feminist to deliver a public address detailing some of the abuses committed against Afghan women.

If anything positive can be said about the Taliban, it is that they did put a stop to much of the looting, raping, and random killings that the mujahideen had practiced on a regular basis. In 2000 Taliban authorities also eradicated the cultivation of opium poppy throughout the areas under their control, an effort judged by the  United Nations International Drug Control Program to have been nearly totally successful. With the Taliban overthrown and a Western-selected mujahideen government reinstalled in Kabul by December 2001, opium poppy production in Afghanistan increased dramatically.

The years of war that have followed have taken tens of thousands of Afghani lives. Along with those killed by Cruise missiles, Stealth bombers, Tomahawks, daisy cutters, and land mines are those who continue to die of hunger, cold, lack of shelter, and lack of water.

The Holy Crusade for Oil and Gas

While claiming to be fighting terrorism, US leaders have found other compelling but less advertised reasons for plunging deeper into Afghanistan. The Central Asian region is rich in oil and gas reserves. A decade before 9/11, Time magazine (18 March 1991) reported that US policy elites were contemplating a military presence in Central Asia. The discovery of vast oil and gas reserves in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan provided the lure, while the dissolution of the USSR removed the one major barrier against pursuing an aggressive interventionist policy in that part of the world.

US oil companies acquired the rights to some 75 percent of these new reserves. A major problem was how to transport the oil and gas from the landlocked region. US officials opposed using the Russian pipeline or the most direct route across Iran to the Persian Gulf. Instead, they and the corporate oil contractors explored a number of alternative pipeline routes, across Azerbaijan and Turkey to the Mediterranean or across China to the Pacific.

The route favored by Unocal, a US based oil company, crossed Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean. The intensive negotiations that Unocal entered into with the Taliban regime remained unresolved by 1998, as an Argentine company placed a competing bid for the pipeline. Bush’s war against the Taliban rekindled UNOCAL’s hopes for getting a major piece of the action.

Interestingly enough, neither the Clinton nor Bush administrations ever placed Afghanistan on the official State Department list of states charged with sponsoring terrorism, despite the acknowledged presence of Osama bin Laden as a guest of the Taliban government.  Such a “rogue state” designation would have made it impossible for a US oil or construction company to enter an agreement with Kabul for a pipeline to the Central Asian oil and gas fields.

In sum, well in advance of the 9/11 attacks the US government had made preparations to move against the Taliban and create a compliant regime in Kabul and a direct US military presence in Central Asia. The 9/11 attacks provided the perfect impetus, stampeding US public opinion and reluctant allies into supporting military intervention.

One might agree with John Ryan who argued that if Washington had left the Marxist Taraki government alone back in 1979, “there would have been no army of mujahideen, no Soviet intervention, no war that destroyed Afghanistan, no Osama bin Laden, and no September 11 tragedy.” But it would be asking too much for Washington to leave unmolested a progressive leftist government that was organizing the social capital around collective public needs rather than private accumulation.

US intervention in Afghanistan has proven not much different from US intervention in Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, and elsewhere. It had the same intent of preventing egalitarian social change, and the same effect of overthrowing an economically reformist government. In all these instances, the intervention brought retrograde elements into ascendance, left the economy in ruins, and pitilessly laid waste to many innocent lives.

The war against Afghanistan, a battered impoverished country, continues to be portrayed in US official circles as a gallant crusade against terrorism. If it ever was that, it also has been a means to other things: destroying a leftist revolutionary social order, gaining profitable control of one of the last vast untapped reserves of the earth’s dwindling fossil fuel supply, and planting US bases and US military power into still another region of the world.

In the face of all this Obama’s call for “change” rings hollow.

Michael Parenti’s recent books are Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader and the forthcoming God and His Demons. For further information, visit www.michaelparenti.org.

Source : http://www.globalresearch.ca

Breaking: 12,000 More Troops to Afghanistan

Posted in Military, USA with tags , , , on September 9, 2008 by indonesiaunderground

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By Noah Shachtman

August 19, 2008

“The Pentagon will be sending 12,000 to 15,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, possibly as soon as the end of this year,” U.S. News is reporting.

A request by Gen. David McKiernan, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, for three U.S. brigades with support staff has been approved…

The troops are slated to arrive earlier than has been previously discussed, on the heels of the deadliest months for American forces in Afghanistan since the war began.

For more than a year, everyone from Gen. McKeirnan to Sen. Barack Obama has been calling for extra troops in Afghanistan. But the Pentagon brass said it couldn’t be done, until forces were pulled out of Iraq. Does that mean a partial withdrawal from Iraq is coming?

source : http://blog.wired.com

[Photo: Defense Department]

At Least 23 Killed as US Drones Attack School in North Waziristan

Posted in USA with tags , , , , on September 9, 2008 by indonesiaunderground

Posted September 8, 2008

Last Updated 9/8 3:05 PM EST

This morning two US Predator Drones attacked a small village two miles north of Miramshah in Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency, killing at least 23 and wounding 20 others. Ten of those killed were said by officials to be militants, although a previous official was quoted as saying “no foreign militant was killed” in the strike. At least four women and two children were reported among the dead and most of the wounded are also reported to be women and children.

The attack centered on a religious school founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani, a religious scholar and veteran commander of the US-backed mujahideen who fought against the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Haqqani is well-connected in both militant and government circles, having been accused of ties with both al-Qaeda and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence by US officials.

Haqqani has recently been accused of a role in the bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul, and was also allegedly linked to an assassination attempt earlier this year against Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Incredibly enough, the United States attempted to install Haqqani as Prime Minister of Afghanistan, a position which he refused citing the number of Afghans killed in the 2001 invasion. Haqqani was reportedly in Afghanistan at the time of the attack.

The strike comes just days after an earlier US drone strike on another village not far from Miramshah, but on the Afghan side of the mountainous border, killed at least five civilians. It also comes less than a week after US ground troops killed 20 civilians in an attack on a village in South Waziristan, an action which led to widespread condemnation from Pakistan’s government and military, as well as anti-US protests among the tribesmen in the area. Pakistan’s government recently cut off supply lines to NATO troops in Afghanistan though there was some disagreement, even within the Pakistani government, whether this was in retaliation for last week’s South Waziristan attack. So far the only comment came from Pakistan’s military, who admitted the incident had occurred and said it was investigating the cause.

compiled by Jason Ditz

source : http://news.antiwar.com

Divergent Accounts of Afghan Strike Raise Tension

Posted in USA with tags , , , , , , on September 8, 2008 by indonesiaunderground
Published: September 7, 2008

AZIZABAD, Afghanistan — To the villagers here, there is no doubt what happened in an American airstrike on Aug. 22: more than 90 civilians, the majority of them women and children, were killed. The Afghan government, human rights and intelligence officials, independent witnesses and a United Nations investigation back up their account, pointing to dozens of freshly dug graves, lists of the dead, and cellphone videos and other footage showing bodies of women and children laid out in the village mosque.

Cellphone footage seen by this reporter shows at least 11 dead children, some with blast and concussion injuries, among some 30 to 40 bodies laid out in the village mosque. Ten days after the airstrikes, villagers dug up the last victim from the rubble, a baby just a few months old. Their shock and grief is still palpable.

For two weeks, the United States military has insisted that only five to seven civilians, and 30 to 35 militants, were killed in what it says was a successful operation against the Taliban: a Special Operations ground mission backed up by American air support. But on Sunday, Gen. David D. McKiernan, the senior American commander in Afghanistan, requested that a general be sent from Central Command to review the American military investigation in light of “emerging evidence.”

“The people of Afghanistan have our commitment to get to the truth,” he said in a statement.

The military investigation drew on what military officials called convincing technical evidence documenting a far smaller number of graves, as well as a thorough sweep of this small western hamlet, a building by building search a few hours after the airstrikes, and a return visit on Aug. 26, which villagers insist never occurred.

The repercussions of the airstrikes have consumed both the Afghan government and the American military, wearing the patience of Afghans at all levels after repeated cases of civilian casualties over the last six years and threatening to erode their tolerance for the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai visited Azizabad on Thursday to pay his respects to the mourners, condemning the strikes, and vowing to arrest the Afghan he says misled American forces with false intelligence.

President Bush expressed his regrets and sympathy in a call to Mr. Karzai on Wednesday. And General McKiernan has issued several statements voicing sorrow for civilian casualties.

The Afghan government is demanding changes in the accords defining the United States military engagement in Afghanistan, in particular ending American military raids on villages and halting the detention of Afghan nationals.

“People are sick of hearing there is another case of civilian casualties,” one presidential aide said.

The accounts of the airstrikes’ aftermath given by Afghans and Americans could not be further apart.

A visitor to the village and to three graveyards within its limits last Sunday counted 42 freshly dug graves. Thirteen of the graves were so small they could hold only children; another 13 were marked with stones in the way Afghans identify women’s graves.

Villagers questioned separately identified relatives in the graves; their names matched the accounts given by elders of the village of who died in each of eight bomb-damaged houses and where they were buried. They were quite specific about who was killed in the airstrikes and did not count those who died for other reasons; one of the fresh graves, they said, belonged to a man who was killed when villagers demonstrated against the Afghan Army on Aug. 23.

At the battle scene, shell craters dotted the courtyards and shrapnel had gouged holes in the walls. Rooms had collapsed and mud bricks and torn clothing lay in uneven mounds where people had been digging. In two places blood was splattered on the ceiling and a wall. An old woman pushed forward with a cauldron full with jagged metal bomb fragments, and a youth presented cellphone video footage he said was shot on the day of the bombing; there was no time stamp.

The smell of bodies lingered in one compound, causing villagers to start digging with spades. They found the body of a baby, caked in dust, in the corner of a bombed-out room.

Cellphone footage a villager said he shot and seen by this reporter showed two lines of about 20 bodies each laid out in the mosque, with the sounds of loud sobbing and villagers’ cries in the background.

An Afghan doctor who runs a clinic in a nearby village said he counted 50 to 60 bodies of civilians, most of them women and children and some of them his own patients, laid out in the village mosque on the day of the strike. The doctor, who works for a reputable nongovernmental organization here, at first gave his name but then asked that it be withheld because he feared retribution from Afghans feeding intelligence to the Americans.

The United States military, in a series of statements about the operation, has accused the villagers of spreading Taliban propaganda. Speaking on condition that their names not be used, some military officials have suggested that the villagers fabricated such evidence as grave sites — and, by implication, that other investigators had been duped. But many villagers have connections to the Afghan police, NATO, or the Americans through reconstruction projects, and they say they oppose the Taliban.

The district chief of Shindand, Lal Muhammad Umarzai, 45, said he personally counted 76 bodies that day, and he believed that more bodies were unearthed over the next two days, bringing the total to more than 90. Mr. Umarzai has been praised for bringing security to the district in the three months since his appointment and is on good terms with American and NATO forces in the region.

American military investigators said that they had interviewed him and that he had told them he had no access to the village. But Mr. Umarzai said Taliban supporters came into the village mid-morning after the airstrikes, forcing him and the police to leave the village, but that later he was able to return and attend the burials.

The United Nations issued a statement pointing to evidence it considers conclusive that about 90 civilians were killed, some 75 of them women and children. One possible reason for the discrepancy is that bodies are scattered in different locations; many of the victims were visiting Azizabad for a family memorial ceremony, and their relatives took their bodies back to their home villages for burial, villagers and relatives said. This reporter did not visit the other villages but was given a detailed list of names and places where the remaining victims were buried.

Accounts from survivors, including three people wounded in the bombing, described repeated strikes on houses where dozens of children were sleeping, grandparents and uncles and aunts huddled inside with them. Most of the village families were asleep when the shooting broke out, some sleeping out under mosquito nets in the yards of their houses, some inside the small domed rooms of their houses, lying close together on the floor, with up to 10 or 20 people in a room.

“I woke up when I heard shooting,” Zainab, a 26-year-old woman who doctors said was wounded in the attack, said in an interview in Herat city hospital.

“The shooting was very close to our house. We just stayed where we were because it was dangerous to go out,” she said. “When the bombardment started there was smoke everywhere and we lay down to protect ourselves.”

Yakhakhan, 51, one of several men in the village working for a private security firm, and who uses just one name, said he heard shooting and was just coming out of his house when his neighbor’s sons ran in.

“They were killed right here; they were 10 and 7 years old,” he said. In the compound next to his, he said, four entire families, including those of his two brothers, were killed.

“They bombard us, they hate us, they kill us,” he said of the Americans. “God will punish them.”

A policeman, Abdul Hakim, whose four children were killed and whose wife was paralyzed, said she had told him how an Afghan informer accompanying the American Special Operations forces had entered the compound after the bombardment and shot dead her brother, Reza Khan; her father, and an uncle as they were trying to help her. She said she had heard her father plead for help and ask the Afghan: “Are you a Muslim? Why are you doing this to us?” Then she heard shots, and her father did not speak after that, he said.

A United States military spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green, said in an e-mail message that she was unaware of such an allegation, and that the American military did not have Afghan civilian informers accompanying its forces during the mission. Soldiers treated wounded people at the scene, which indicated that the Laws of Armed Conflict were followed, she said.

While the American forces reported they had come under fire upon entering the village, it is not clear from whom. The villagers and the relatives of some of the men killed in the raid insisted none of them were Taliban, nor were there Taliban present in the village. Eight of the men killed worked as security guards for a private security company and so did possess weapons, said Gul Ahmed Khan, whose brother, Reza Khan, supplied the guards to the security firm ArmorGroup, an American contractor. Two other ArmorGroup guards and three members of the local Afghan police were detained by United States forces during the raid. Four of them were released a week later.

The Khan brothers are from the most prominent family in the village and were hosting the memorial ceremony for their brother, Taimoor Shah, who was killed in a business dispute a year ago. They had cards issued by an American Special Forces officer that designated each of them as a “coordinator for the U.S.S.F.” Another brother, Haji Abdul Rashid, blamed a business rival for feeding American forces with false information about the family.

American military officials in Afghanistan and Washington have stood by their much lower body count. Capt. Christian Patterson, an American military spokesman at Bagram air base north of Kabul, said that an investigating officer, an Special Forces major, visited the village after the airstrikes. Based on aerial photographs, he visited six burial sites within a 10-kilometer range of the incident; only one had any freshly dug graves, about 18 to 20 in total, Captain Patterson said. The investigating report does not indicate whether they were the graves of children or women.

The officer did not interview villagers, he said.

Mr. Khan, whose house is just yards from the main graveyard, which contains 24 fresh graves, said no members of the American military had entered the village since Aug. 22. Villagers living around the graveyards would have seen them, he said.

The American military also said that it had only found two wounded people, a woman and a child, at the scene, and that in a survey of clinics, doctors and hospitals of the area it had found no other wounded.

In a series of statements about the operation, the American military has said that extremists who entered the village after the bombardment encouraged villagers to change their story and inflate the number of dead. Yet the Afghan government and the United Nation have stood by the victims’ families and their accounts, not least because many of the families work for the Afghan government or reconstruction projects. The villagers say they oppose the Taliban and would not let them in the village.

“You can see our I.D. cards,” said a police officer, Muhammad Alam, 35, who was accused by the Americans of being a Taliban supporter and detained for a week after the airstrikes, then released. “If the Taliban caught me they would slaughter me.”

Two families in the village have lost men serving in the police during recent Taliban attacks. Reza Khan, whose house was the main target of the U.S. Special Operations forces operation and who was shot dead in the operation, was a wealthy businessman with construction and security contracts with the nearby American base at Shindand airport, and with a mobile phone business in the town of Herat. A recent photo of him shows a clean-shaven, slightly portly man in a suit and tie — far from the typical look of a Taliban militant.

His brother, Haji Rashid, said the American forces “should question the people who gave them the wrong information.”

“We want them brought to trial and punished for what they have done,” he added.

His claim was supported by the district chief, Mr. Umarzai, who said, “The victims did not fire on the Americans.”

He said he suspected that an informer, who falsely told the American forces that Taliban fighters were in the village that night, also staged the firefight. The gunmen first fired on the police checkpoint on the edge of the village that night, he said.

“When the Americans came, they laid down heavy gunfire and then they left the area. Then the Americans called in airstrikes,” he said.

Villagers also challenged the American military’s claims that it successfully conducted its planned operation against a Taliban commander, Mullah Sadiq, and a group of his men.

A man claiming to be Mullah Sadiq called into Radio Liberty several days after the raid and declared that he was alive and well and was never in the village of Azizabad that night. Reporters at the radio station, who asked not to be identified, said they knew his voice well and double-checked the recording with residents of Shindand and they were sure the caller was Mullah Sadiq.

American military officials have said that the man who called into the radio program was an imposter and that they are confident they killed their target.

A senior American officer who has been briefed on the military investigation’s findings said in an e-mail message: “I will simply say that the soldiers — U.S. and Afghan — reported what they saw and found at each building site as they looked for material, weapons, bodies. I cannot explain why later the numbers are so far apart.”

Members of the Afghan government investigation commission said that the Americans were just covering up the truth.

“The Americans are guilty in this incident: it is much better for them to confess the reality rather than hiding the truth,” said Abdul Salam Qazizada, a parliamentarian and government-commission member from Herat province, where the village is located.

Villagers suggested that the soldiers just counted those who died in the open and did not try to dig under the rubble. A local journalist, Reza Shir Mohammadi, said that when he visited the village on second day, women and children were still weeping at one collapsed house, saying they still had not found their mother and siblings.

The operation in Azizabad once again raises questions for the military about whether it is worth pursuing members of the Taliban with airstrikes inside a densely populated village where the collateral damage can be so high. A similar raid in the same district by American Special Forces in April last year that killed 57 people led American and NATO commanders to tighten rules on calling in airstrikes on village houses.

“This is not fair to kill 90 people for one Mullah Sadiq,” said Mr. Umarzai, the district chief. “If they continue like this, they will lose the people’s confidence in the government and the coalition forces.”

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington, and Sangar Rahimi and Abdul Waheed Wafa from Azizabad and Kabul.

source : The New York Times