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article imageOp-Ed: Eleven killed after night raid in Afghanistan

By Ken Hanly     Jan 13, 2013 in World
Kabul - As usual there are different accounts of a night attack in the Sayed Abad District in Wardak province west of Kabul. The night raid by NATO special forces and Afghans killed four people and the raiders detonated an arms cache, damaging a mosque.
An Afghan soldier was also reported killed in the raid. About an hour and a half later as villagers were recovering bodies from the rubble, there was another explosion that caused the death of seven civilians.
NATO denied any responsibility for the second explosion and claimed that the four they killed were insurgents who died of small arms fire. This is interesting in that the other villagers were apparently killed when they were digging bodies from the rubble. Did the raiders just stack up arms and explode them and leave the bodies covered with rubble? If they did not, how is it the villagers were digging bodies from the rubble.
NATO claims that there was no air support for the raid. However locals claim that attack helicopters were involved in the raid and the Taliban claimed as well that NATO launched missiles at a mosque during the raid. Both sides typically lie about these events.
Provincial officials were not sure what caused the secondary explosion that killed seven civilians. They speculated that some of the insurgents were wearing suicide explosive vests at the time of the attack. Really, they wear suicide vests in the middle of the night?
Civilians in the area protested the night raid, displaying the bodies of the civilians killed in the raid. NATO promised an investigation and said they were familiar with reports of the civilian deaths.
A spokesperson for the provincial governor said that Taliban militants had opened fire on the joint force from inside the mosque after an insurgent was detained at another location. He claimed that during that exchange suicide vests worn by the militants detonated killing four of them. This story conflicts with the NATO story that the militants all died from small arms fire and the explosion was caused by the raiders detonating a weapons cache.
A spokesperson for the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) said that there were no arrests. So what happened to the insurgent detained in another area that sparked the firefight in the first place?
President Hamid Karzai has continually complained about night raids. Karzai says he does not want these night raids but the NATO alliance says they are key to capturing Taliban commanders. They may be key in ensuring continued support for the Taliban in the villages since they often involve collateral deaths or in some cases the wrong person is sought.
Villagers gathered and shouted "Death to America" as they displayed the bodies of the dead. The aim of the raid was to capture a Taliban fighter who was thought to be holed up in the village. So why were there no arrests then according to ISAF?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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