Socialist Worker

Afghanistan: how Nato forces gunned down peaceful protesters

Published Fri 6 Aug 2010
Issue No. 2213

The release by WikiLeaks of over 90,000 secret documents has underlined the vicious nature of the occupation of Afghanistan.

The papers give the lie to the claim that US-led forces are bringing peace and democracy to the country.

They reveal that between 2004 and the end of 2009, US and British airstrikes and shootings killed hundreds of civilians.

But more detailed analysis also shows the repression of protests and demonstrations by Nato forces and their Afghan partners in crime.

At http://bit.ly/daeWlg you will find the search engine for the WikiLeaks Afghanistan documents after the word “demonstration” has been entered. Again and again there is evidence from the occupiers themselves revealing their attacks on peaceful protests.

If you go to the report for 10 September 2009 you find:

'(NON-COMBAT EVENT) DEMONSTRATION REPORT 6 Civilians killed in action, 16 civilians wounded in action

Event Title:DEMONSTRATION

Zone:null Placename:null Outcome:null

Size 150 – 300

Activity MOSTLY PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATION (UNCLEAR NATURE OF PROTEST)

Location 42SVC 46440 11330
Time 100430ZSEP09
Result MONITORING SITUATION ON PTSD
Result 100540Z, SOMEBODY SHOOTING FROM THE DEMONSTRATION AT THE Afghan National Police, 3 x Local National Wounded in Action EVACUATED TO GHAZNI
Result 100550Z, Afghan National Army DISPERSED DEMONSTRATION, DEMONSTRATION APPEARS TO BE OVER
Result 100730Z, DEMONSTRATION APPEARS TO SPINNING UP AGAIN
Result 100800Z APPEARS TO BE FUNERAL, 16 x Local National WA, 6 x Local National Killed in Action, 1 x Local National Wounded in Action AND TAKEN BY DEMONSTRATORS.'

Six dead and 17 wounded.

From 13 May 2005 comes:

“Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force reports demonstration In vicinity of GARDEZ. Initially approximately 60X demonstrators gathered for a protest where 1X demonstrator was shot in leg and transported to Gardez hospital.

“The Afghan National Police is dealing with demonstration. Earlier that morning Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force facilitated the establishment of the Emergency Operation Center (Emergency Operation Centre) at the local government compound. The Emergency Operation Centre is maintaining communication with Police/Government/Coalition Forces.

“The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan compound is secured by elements of Task force Thunder. At 10:05 GMT Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force reported a second group of approximately 300 locals has linked-up with first group. Demonstrators appear to be taking some direction from the police. Group is moving north toward Tera Pass (CNA).

“At 10:07 GMT a large group of demonstrators (over 100) began to move toward Forward Base Gardez.

“At 10:53 GMT the crowd was 50M from north check point throwing rocks and a second group is 300M away and moving toward the check point. During the incident, the police shot five people. One died at the hospital and four are in stable condition.

“The police verified that the individual who died was a spectator and not a demonstrator and that he was shot unintentionally. At least two of the other four were shot for attempting to wrestle weapons away from the police. It was not verified that the demonstrators were armed with anything more than slingshots.”

One dead and five wounded.

An example from 31 October 2008 reveals the divisions within the Afghan forces themselves.

'Demonstration report: 22 Host Nation Security Forces wounded in action

'Regional Command Central reported a riot between Afghan National Army soldiers within Kabul military training centre. The riot reportedly began after Hazara NCOs harassed and beat up Pashtun soldiers. Pashtun soldiers from the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Kandak joined the riot and the protesting soldiers began throwing rocks at Kabul Military Training Centre Afghan National Army troops and military police. The military police fired an unknown number of warning shots; the rioters were not responsive to the shots. Kabul Military Training Centre Tactical Group Quick Response Force was deployed to the scene to assist the military police. General Ali Ahmad, also responded to the scene and was able to calm the rioting soldiers. The riot had dispersed by 2145L.'

The reports need careful examination. Many say “0 casualties”, but they are still associated with death or injury.

For example, the log of an incident on 14 June 2008 is recorded as “0 casualties”. But the detail shows

'AT 05:59 GMT, PANTHER REPORTS THE ZORMAT POLICE CHIEF STATED THAT Afghan National Police FIRED Unknown TYPE OF WEAPON SYSTEM KILLING 1 Local National AND WOUNDING 5. PANTHER IS INVESTIGATING THIS CURRENT REPORT.'

No casualties? But a report of one dead and five wounded that is not disproved.

A report from 23 February 2009 which records no casualties actually says, “US Police Mentor Team conducting a framework patrol observed a group of Local National protesting about 2 x children killed by unexploded ordnance [or unfired] from old Canadian range. Friendly Forces kept their distance. There were no casualties or damage reported.”

No casualties? But a protest over two children killed.

And again from 25 December 2008 a “no casualty” report reveals “Afghan National Army report as of 09:00 GMT, there is a demonstration of approximately 2,000 Local Nationals. The demonstration is currently non-violent, but closing MSR Vermont.

“09:00 GMT: The fourth Kandak Commander is holding a Meeting of tribal elders and Afghan leaders at the location of the demonstration with the villagers to explain why a compound was raided and individuals were taken away.

“Debrief from Meeting of tribal elders and Afghan leaders:

“Local National Very upset with Coalition Forces, the capture/kill of the four individuals.

“EndState: The Afghan National Army will conduct security for funerals on 26DEC; the villagers demand the return of the detainees immediately.”

No casualties? But anger at “kills” and then the organisation of funerals.

The brutal and bloody occupation must end now.


A demonstration against the war in Afghanistan takes place in London on 20 November. Go to www.stopwar.org.uk

A helpful glossary to understand the raw WikiLeaks document is at

www.guardian.co.uk/world/datablog/2010/jul/25/wikileaks-afghanistan-war-logs-glossary

For Socialist Worker coverage of the WikiLeaks documents go to Deceit and disaster: war in Afghanistan laid bare by leaked documents


Article information

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Fri 6 Aug 2010, 17:38 BST
Issue No. 2213
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