- USA-Pentagram: “For Democracy, Liberty, Freedom, free speech …. “
- At Least 40 Civilians, Including 12 Children, Killed at Afghan Wedding Party During a US-Backed Military Raid Gone Wrong
A US-backed raid by the Afghanistan security forces on an Islamist militants’ hideout in the Helmand province turned into a bloodbath when a nearby wedding party was hit as well and dozens of civilians were killed and injured.
The raid on the hideout, located in the central Afghan town of Musa Qala, occurred late on Sunday. The targeted facility has somehow been used by both the Taliban and Al Qaeda to train suicide bombers, according to local officials.
The operation, however, turned into carnage as a wedding party was being held next door with a large group of civilians in attendance.
“We were going to the bride’s house for the henna ceremony, some of us were outside the home and some inside, [when] suddenly the battle began…We told the security forces that we were not members of the Taliban,” Mohammad Salim, a survivor of the massacre and a relative of the victims, told Reuters.
The warning apparently did no good to the civilians, as at least 40 people were killed – including 12 children – while 13 others were injured during the gun battle. Both Afghan and US military officials acknowledged the civilian casualties, and shifted the blame for massacre on the militants.
Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for US forces stationed in the country, said they participated in the raid, conducting “precision strikes against barricaded terrorists firing on Afghan and US forces.” The majority of the killed civilians were struck by the militants’ small arms fire and explosions of their munition cashes and suicide belts, he claimed.