Narang night raid
|Narang night raid|
People of Narang district mourning for the students killed in the raid
The Narang night raid was a night raid on a household in the village of Ghazi Khan in the early morning hours of December 27, 2009. The operation was authorized by NATO and resulted in the death of ten Afghan civilians, most of whom were students, and some of whom were children. The status of the deceased was initially in dispute with NATO officials claiming the dead were Taliban members found with weapons and bomb making materials, while some Afghan government officials and local tribal authorities asserted they were civilians.
According to an Afghan initial investigation led by Mr. Assadullah Wafa, the raiding party took off by helicopter from Kabul. The raiding party allegedly dragged the victims out of their beds and shot them in the head or chest. A survivor was subsequently interrogated and pictures were taken of the dead bodies. Investigations later determined that most of the victims were aged between 12 and 18 years and were enrolled in local schools.
The Afghan government claimed U.S. Forces were involved, while statements by NATO asserted U.S. and NATO forces did not participate in the shootings. Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Zaher Azimy said Afghan troops had not taken part in the operation. Who exactly carried out the raid and shot the victims remains unclear.
Summary of events
According to an Afghan investigation at around 1 am American troops with helicopters left Kabul and landed around 2 km away. They walked from the helicopters to the houses where they gathered the students from two rooms, into one room, and opened fire. Colonel Gross said that U.S. forces were present but did not lead the operation. A local elder, Jan Mohammed, said that three boys were killed in one room and five were handcuffed before they were shot. "I saw their school books covered in blood," he said.
President Hamid Karzai strongly condemned the military operation and tasked a delegation led by Assadullah Wafa to investigate the killings. The investigation found that all of the victims were civilians and that eight of them were students between the ages of 12 and 17. A preliminary investigation by the United Nations reinforced Afghan claims that most of the dead were schoolboys. Assadullah Wafa who led the investigation, said: "It’s impossible they were al-Qaeda. They were children, they were civilians, they were innocent." While a joint Afghan-NATO investigation is ongoing Hamid Karzai offered 100,000 afghanis to the victim's families. Amid calls for prosecution of the attackers by the Afghan Security Council Karzai conceded that he didn't know who the shooters were. Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Zaher Azimy said Afghan troops had not taken part in the operation. NATO reiterated that the forces which conducted the attack were not under NATO command and were of a "non-military" nature. NATO did, though, concede it authorized the operation and apologized for doing so, admitting the dead were likely civilians and that the intelligence on which the authorization was based was faulty.
Hundreds of Afghans rallied in the streets of Jalalabad and Kabul. Hundreds were university students and some were wearing blue headbands with the words: "Stop killing us!". They burned an effigy of U.S. President Barack Obama and chanted "Death to America" and "Obama! Obama! Take your soldiers out of Afghanistan!".
Safiullah Aminzai, a student organiser, told AFP: "Our demonstration is against those foreigners who have come to our country." "They have not brought democracy to Afghanistan but they are killing our religious scholars and children."
Relatives of the victims
Farooq Abul Ajan who lost two children, four nephews and two brothers in the operation complained to President Hamid Karzai that no one has taken responsibility. He said "We wanted to know who it was." President’s spokesman, Waheed Omar, assured the relatives that the palace were “actively seeking” to bring the perpetrators to justice.
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- List of massacres in Afghanistan
- Jerome Starkey (February 25, 2010). "Nato admits that deaths of 8 boys were a mistake". The Times of London.
- "Afghans condemn 'civilian deaths'". Al Jazeera. December 30, 2009.
- Jerome Starkey (March 8, 2010). "Karzai offers families ‘blood money’ for sons killed in raid". The Times of London.
- Alissa J. Rubin and Abdul Waheed Wafa (December 29, 2009). "Afghan Leader Says Attack Killed Civilians, but NATO Says the Victims Were Taliban". New York Times.
- "Afghan Investigation: Foreign Troops Killed School Children". Voice of America. December 30, 2009.
- Stephen Smith (January 1, 2010). "U.N.: Afghans Slain in Raid Were Students". CBS News.
- Jerome Starkey (February 26, 2010). "Hunt down the spy behind deaths of our children, say Afghan night raid survivors". The Times of London.
- Amin Jalali (December 30, 2009). "Assault force killed family by mistake in raid, claims Afghan father". Reuters.
- Jerome Starkey (February 25, 2010). "Western troops accused of executing 10 Afghan civilians, including children". The Times of London.
- Jerome Starkey (December 31, 2009). "Assault force killed family by mistake in raid, claims Afghan father". The Times of London.
- Samoon Miakhail (December 29, 2009). "Afghans burn Obama effigy over civilian deaths". AFP.
- Video report US-Led Forces Accused of Executing Schoolchildren in Afghanistan on Democracy Now.