World: U.S. Disputes Finding That Airstrikes on Afghan Drug Labs Killed 30 Civilians - PressFrom - US
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World U.S. Disputes Finding That Airstrikes on Afghan Drug Labs Killed 30 Civilians

16:25  09 october  2019
16:25  09 october  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

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KABUL, Afghanistan — At least 30 civilians were killed by American airstrikes that targeted drug labs in western Afghanistan this spring, according to a United Nations report released on Wednesday, a figure that the United States-led mission in the country quickly disputed .

US air attacks on alleged Taliban drug labs in Afghanistan killed or wounded dozens of civilians in May, says a United Nations report, which has Facilities that help fund parties who are involved in the 18-year war are considered civilian objectives under international humanitarian law, and thus drug

KABUL, Afghanistan — At least 30 civilians were killed by American airstrikes that targeted drug labs in western Afghanistan this spring, according to a United Nations report released on Wednesday, a figure that the United States-led mission in the country quickly disputed.

a group of people standing around a plane: American military personnel in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, last month.© Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times American military personnel in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, last month.

The strikes, on May 5, targeted more than 60 sites in Farah Province and neighboring Nimruz Province, the United Nations report said. As of last month, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan had verified that 39 civilians were either wounded or killed in the strikes. Seventeen of those were working in the drug labs, which were primarily producing methamphetamine.

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Since the September 11 attacks, the United States government has carried out drone strikes in Pakistan (see drone strikes in Pakistan), Yemen (see drone strikes in Yemen), Somalia

American airstrikes killed dozens of civilians during a firefight in western Afghanistan this week, U . S . military investigators have concluded. But it' s far lower than initial reports, by the Red Cross and Afghan officials, of up to 120 civilians killed . "The investigators have also found evidence that

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A statement from the American-led mission in Afghanistan disagreed with nearly all of the report, citing its “reliance on sources with conflicted motives” and the decision to call those killed in the bombings civilians instead of insurgents.

The dispute sheds light on America’s current war methods — relying heavily on overhead surveillance, air support and local forces to select and attack targets — and the sometimes contentious definitions by which the United States military identifies combatants on an increasingly murky battlefield.

In the case of the May 5 strikes, the United States military said in its statement that its own “exhaustive and comprehensive review” had determined that the labs were producing revenue for the Taliban, and that the people working in them were Taliban fighters and “lawful military targets.”

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A US airstrike that was carried out in Afghanistan in May and was said to have targeted Taliban militants in fact killed at least 30 civilians , a United Nations (UN) probe has found . The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) conducted the investigation over four months looking

In Afghanistan , U . S . airstrikes killed at least 30 civilians in Helmand province, according to reports by local officials and residents Wednesday. The attacks came as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani spoke at a U .N. meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, where he outlined plans for peace talks with the

It said the timing of the strikes was chosen to avoid civilian casualties, but the United Nations report disputed this. Its report said that one of the targeted sets of facilities, in the Bakwa district of Farah Province, “were not controlled and operated exclusively by the Taliban, but rather they were owned and operated by criminal groups with connections to international drug trafficking networks.”

These differing assessments are at the core of the dueling findings. While the American military sees economic engines that contribute to the Taliban’s war effort as legally legitimate targets, the United Nations considered the sites hit on May 5 strikes to be outside that categorization.

The people inside the labs were not “performing combat functions,” the United Nations report said, and “while some of the sites may have been associated with illicit activity, they did not meet the definition of legitimate military objectives under international law.”

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On May 5, US forces conducted a series of airstrikes in the southwest of Afghanistan targeting what they said were over 60 drug labs . A UN probe into the attacks confirmed that the strikes killed or injured a large number of civilians . Inspectors from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan

The number of civilians killed in American-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria spiked this year, as efforts to retake Islamic State strongholds intensified and as some procedures for The U . S . military did not provide dates for an additional 80 confirmed civilian deaths; those deaths are not included in the chart.

A United States defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, said revenue from the targeted drug labs was directly funding Taliban Red Units, a well-trained branch of the insurgent group that is responsible for some of its more deadly attacks.

After the strikes, the United States military, primarily using overhead surveillance, determined that no civilians were injured or killed. In June, the United Nations sent a fact-finding mission to several of the sites and conducted interviews with 21 local people, according to its report.

With decreasing numbers of American troops deployed in combat zones, a lack of people on the ground to assess the damage caused by airstrikes has become a staple of United States combat operations in recent years. In April, the military command in Africa determined that civilians had been killed in an airstrike in Somalia only after a rights group and pressure from lawmakers prompted a review.

And the fight against the Islamic State has been rife with civilian casualty allegations after extensive American bombing campaigns in cities such as Mosul, Iraq, and Raqqa, Syria.

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The Department of Defense released its findings on 29 April 2016. MSF has called for an The Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqi confirmed an airstrike on 3 October United States led air strike on Bir Mahali village between 30 April and 1 May 2015, killing at least 64 civilians . Doctors Without Borders Releases Damning Review of Kunduz Airstrikes That Killed 30 Staff and

KABUL — A newly announced campaign of U . S . and Afghan airstrikes against Taliban-run narcotic centers was met with alarm and criticism Tuesday from political leaders in Helmand province — the heart of Afghanistan ' s huge opium trade — where officials said 10 such air attacks were carried out

The United States military has not targeted any other methamphetamine labs after the May strikes, the defense official said. A United Nations report released in June said that 717 civilians were killed by American and Afghan government forces in the first six months of this year.

The United States has spent more than $8 billion on anti-narcotics operations in Afghanistan, according to the United States special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction. Officials have shifted antidrug strategies several times over the course of the long war. The latest iteration, which began in 2017 and primarily targeted opium-producing facilities, was called off late last year.

And while opium poppy growth has long been a financial foundation for the Taliban, methamphetamines have quietly appeared across Afghanistan in increasing quantities. In September last year, the Afghan counternarcotics police seized more than nine metric tons of chemicals that could be used to make the drug.

Past three months in Afghanistan have been the deadliest for civilians in a decade .
The United Nations says more civilians have died between July and September this year than during any other three-month period in the last 10 years.Between July and September, 1,174 civilians were killed and 3,139 were wounded. Those figures bring the total number of civilian casualties (both dead and injured) this year to more than 8,000, according to counts by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. In the previous quarter, 785 civilians were killed and 1,254 were wounded.

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