From the Washington Post:
Attacks by U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, including air strikes, have reportedly killed hundreds of children over the last four years, according to the U.N. body monitoring the rights of children.
The Geneva-based Committee on the Rights of the Child said the casualties were “due notably to reported lack of precautionary measures and indiscriminate use of force.” It was reviewing a range of U.S. policies affecting children for the first time since 2008 — the last year of the Bush administration and the year Barack Obama was first elected president.
Naturally, the US rejects the claims of this report, in a way reminiscent of the Israeli government’s denial of responsibility for civilian deaths and outright war crimes:
The U.S. military called the reports “categorically unfounded.”
…The military rejected the allegation that it used force indiscriminately, saying it applies strict rules when carrying out airstrikes in areas where civilians may be. When their operations do kill civilians, “ISAF and U.S. military officials make every effort to meet with the families of those we have harmed and to express our condolences personally,” the statement said.
It’s never been a secret that there are civilian casualties, including children, in US operations in Afghanistan and around the world. Remember that attack in Yemen in 2009 that killed 14 women and 21 children? Well, probably not, because it was severely under-reported in the American press. How about that US-led airstrike that killed perhaps 100 innocent people in Afghanistan? Yeah, me neither.
But it’s not often that you see the United Nations coming out with such stark figures like this. Seeing one of the most important institutions in the world assert that US military operations have killed hundreds – I repeat, HUNDREDS – of Afghan children in recent years alone (leaving aside how many were killed at the beginning of the 11-year occupation) really brings home the amount of human suffering occurs in this country that has dealt with a US military presence for more than a decade. Of course, the Taliban are also responsible for horrendous crimes in that country. But, if after all this time the US military hasn’t been able to stop those things from occurring, and as we see, is responsible for some horrible crimes itself, can the barbarity of the Taliban really be a justification for more military occupation by a foreign army?