Skip to comments.Afghan parents fault U.S. troops for sons' deaths during drills
Posted on 12/17/2002 12:46:56 PM PST by hoosierskypilot
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Furious parents of Afghan children killed by a stray mortar fired during a U.S. military training drill accused American special forces Tuesday of ignoring their desperate pleas and letting their sons bleed to death. Four boys died and three were injured in Saturday's incident at a firing range about six miles east of Kabul. The accident occurred as the U.S. 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group from Fort Carson, Colo., was training Afghan soldiers in mortar and rifle fire.
The U.S. military says it is investigating and denies there was any delay in helping the injured children. Family members disagreed in interviews with The Associated Press.
The brother of one victim said he begged for help, but that U.S. soldiers wouldn't believe him and kept firing. Two fathers said the Americans made them wait for hours before bringing them their sons, who died soon after.
"The American officers are responsible to God for the children they have killed, and one day they will have to answer for their actions," said Mohammed Akram, whose 15-year-old son Saeed Imran was killed. "No Americans even came to the funeral to show their condolences. Out of respect for my wife as a human being, they should at least have come to pay their respects."
Abdul Zaher, an Afghan military officer whose 14-year-old son Hafizullah was killed, said U.S. soldiers ignored his other son's pleas.
"After the accident, my son Habibullah ran to tell the Americans what had happened, but they did not take him seriously," Abdul Zaher said. "They kept firing."
Habibullah went to get his father, and Abdul Zaher says he and another man rushed to the scene, but were kept off the range by American and Afghan soldiers. He said they were made to wait in an office for four hours.
"My son Habibullah said 'Father, it is too late! Hafizullah is bleeding. He may die,' but there was nothing we could do," Abdul Zaher said.
A spokesman at the Kabul Military Training Center denied any delay. "It is completely false," said Sgt. Don Dees, adding that a team was sent to rescue the children the minute the army was notified.
Dees also said the army had warned residents of the exercises through patrols, and had shot flares before beginning the drills. He said the boys sneaked onto the range from behind the hill, and that soldiers were not aware of their presence.
"The area was physically checked before firing started. I have had no reports of children reporting the injuries and being ignored," said Col. Roger King, U.S. army spokesman at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul.
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I've worked as a defense contractor on a military base (Fort Knox, Ky) and drills such as these are usually accompanied by real loud noises. These noises themselves are a warning to stay away.
Plus, it is SOP for soldiers to make reasonable efforts to clear the area. Not only would they stop at the slightest hint of injury, they would definately render aid.
Everytime I come across an article accusing the US military of improbable things in Afghanistan, I see a name like this in the byline.
They are organized in their own interest.