The Khost Province killings yesterday have sparked a growing level of outrage at the behavior of US forces across Afghanistan, and have led Afghan President Hamid Karzai to demand once again that foreign forces adhere to their previous agreement to coordinate planned raids (external - login to view) with the national government, and base them on accurate information.
When the killings were reported yesterday morning, US forces claimed that they had killed “four militants (external - login to view)” and wounded another one. It was only later that they were forced to acknowledge that the house they attacked belonged to a Afghan Army officer, and that the people killed were his wife, a brother, and two of his children (external - login to view). Afghan health officials revealed today that the wounded woman reported in the initial report was actually nine-months pregnant, and the attacking US forces shot the unborn baby in her womb (external - login to view). The troops now say they don’t believe the people they killed were involved in militant activities.
The Afghan officer, Awal Khan, was flown home after the killing and said he wants “the coalition leaders to expose those behind this and punish them.” US military spokesman Col. Julian says it was “an unfortunate set of circumstances” and that there will be financial assistance to the surviving relatives of those killed.
On the other had Afghan Ambassador to the United States Said Jawad, remarkably, defended the killings, saying it was “a price that we have to pay if we want security and stability in Afghanistan, the region and the world (external - login to view).” Despite the envoy’s support, the killing of an unborn baby seems to have netted Afghanistan little in the way of security.