Pentagon Whitewashes Murders of Afghan Civilians

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Pentagon Whitewashes Murders of Afghan Civilians
by Stephen Lendman
US rules of engagement in all its war theaters consistently and repeatedly violate international and constitutional law – soldiers allowed to murder civilians with impunity.
One of many notorious examples occurred in February 2010 in Afghanistan. US Army rangers belligerently entered Khataba village in Paktia province – slaughtering five defenseless civilians in cold blood, including two pregnant women threatening no one.
FOIA documents obtained by The Intercept revealed no disciplinary action following the raid. The Defense Department outrageously called force used “necessary, proportional and applied at (the) appropriate time” – while admitting “tactical mistakes” were made, war crimes by any standard.
Absolving crimes of war and against humanity committed by US forces is longstanding Pentagon practice. Falsified accounts whitewash deplorable incidents.
Stories change when evidence refutes initial versions. A Pentagon press release after the February 2010 incident claimed an attack against Taliban militants, US forces “engag(ing)” them in a “fire fight,” then finding three women “bound and gagged…hidden in an adjacent room.”
The incident got widespread media coverage. A US military official claimed bodies found had “the earmarks of a traditional honor killing.”
The account was fabricated. Survivors, witness testimonies and Afghan investigators refuted it, explaining an entirely different version of what happened. According to The Intercept:
“Witnesses and survivors described an unprovoked assault on the family compound of Mohammed Daoud Sharabuddin, a (US-trained) police (commander) who had just received an important promotion. Daoud and his family had gathered to celebrate the naming of a newborn son…”
At about 3:30 AM, family members heard noises outside their compound. Fearing a Taliban attack, Daoud and his 15-year-old son went outside to check – both hit by sniper fire.
In “minutes, a family celebration (became) a massacre,” taking five lives, including three women, two pregnant, reported The Intercept. “Sixteen children lost their mothers.”
Witnesses observed “a horrifying scene: US soldiers digging (their) bullets out of the women’s bodies” with knives – to conceal evidence of their multiple murders.
Documents obtained by The Intercept claimed “(c)oalition (sic) forces take every precaution to ensure non-combatant civilians are protected from possible hostilities during the course of every operation.”
Irrefutable evidence shows otherwise. America wages naked aggression without mercy, civilians considered legitimate targets, comprising the vast majority of casualties.
Millions of corpses attest to America’s depravity. Despite clear evidence of cold-blooded murder in the Daoud compound, the Pentagon claimed its “investigation found no attempt to hide or cover up the circumstances of the local national women’s deaths.”
At the same time, it admitted US forces killed Afghan civilians – after initially saying three women were killed two days before the fire fight with alleged insurgents.
The report recommended US forces “make an appropriate condolence payment to the family as a sign of good faith in our sincerity at the seriousness of the incident.”
Meaningless US “good faith” won’t bring back lost loved ones. In all US war theaters, countless war crimes like the Daoud tragedy repeat – coverup and denial concealing them.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.