I take no joy in this article vindicating the response by our troops against terrorists who were hiding among civilians. As long as they continue to act in this cowardly manner, there will always be innocents who get caught in the crossfire.
KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan army commander said that U.S. and Afghan troops were fired on first from a village where a government investigative commission says scores of civilians were killed, according to a report released Sunday.
The chief of staff for the army’s Herat corps told the head of the government’s investigative commission that shots were fired early Aug. 22 from Azizabad at U.S. and Afghan troops. The troops had gone to the village on a raid.
But the report, released by the office of President Hamid Karzai, did not specify who fired the shots.
“When the ANA (Afghan army) and coalition troops got close to the village, firing started after the ANA unit stopped, and the coalition forces conducted the operation in the village,” the report said.
There were no “foreign or internal Taliban” among the victims, the report said.
The commission found that 15 men, 15 women and 60 children were killed. That finding was backed by a preliminary U.N. report. The commission said eight houses were destroyed and seven damaged.
The U.S.-led coalition maintains that 25 militants and five civilians died. The U.S. says it is investigating.
The top NATO spokesman in Afghanistan, Brig. Gen. Richard Blanchette, told The Associated Press on Saturday that the U.S.-led coalition, Afghan government and U.N. would launch a probe into the raid.
A U.N. spokesman, Dan McNorton, said details of the investigation were still to be worked out.
The statement from Karzai’s office on Sunday did not mention any joint investigation, and no Afghan government officials have confirmed that the government would participate.
The U.N. mission said it had delivered aid to around 900 people affected by what it called “the recent tragedy” in Azizabad. It delivered three truck loads of food, cooking utensils, shelter materials and medicines to 150 families.
“I have asked all U.N. agencies working in Afghanistan to step up support to the local authorities as they work to help the survivors,” the U.N. chief in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, said in a statement.
Ahmad Nader Nadery, the head of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission, has said that a villager named Reza, whose compound bore the brunt of the attack, had a private security company that worked for the U.S. military at nearby Shindand airport.