THE BLOG

Three Dead Afghan Children

BBC reports that U.S. forces piloting helicopters killed three children last night in the Arghandab district of Afghanistan. Enraged locals took the bodies to Kandahar to display them to local officials. (Warning: graphic video.)

"What was the fault of my innocent children? They were not Taliban," Mr Rahim said. "Did they come here to build our country or kill our innocent children?"

But keep in mind, this is all making you safer, America.

... The villagers shouted "Death to America! Death to infidels!" as they displayed the corpses in the back of a pickup truck.

AFP reports the boys killed in the strike were ages 10-13, along with a 25-year-old man.

There's discontinuity between the descriptions of the strike: locals say the helicopters attacked a house, while the U.S. military claims they attacked "militants" in an open field. Stay tuned.

The New York Times is also on the story. One addendum to Dexter Filkins' piece: while his closing paragraph is true,

As the Afghan war has intensified in recent months, more civilians have died. A United Nations report released last week said that 1013 civilians were killed in the first six months of 2009, compared with 818 in the same period last year. Insurgents were to blame for 59 percent of those deaths, the report said.

...it fails to point out that it's not just the total number of civilians killed that increased during the months in question. Civilian casualties in general and casualties specifically caused by U.S. forces and their allies have steadily increased in each year for which we have systematically collected data, despite repeated escalations intended in part to reduce non-combatant deaths.

For more on the topic of non-combatant deaths, see Rethink Afghanistan's section on civilian casualties.