Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Canada's top soldier rejects report before welcoming it

Posted by Christian  |  at  23.12.08

Canada's top soldier in Afghanistan on Tuesday rejected criticism of air strikes and nighttime raids by international forces in the country, saying such actions are taken only "as a last resort" and that he is confident that his soldiers are following international law.
I wonder, is there some sort of international law against soldiers involved in illicit drug use and trafficking, and if there is, should that be rejected as well?
"Every precaution is taken to ensure there is a have a high degree of certainty regarding targets" when air strikes or nighttime raids are launched, Thompson said, adding he is proud of Canada's "exemplary" track record in Afghanistan.

"Task Force Kandahar troops — both U.S. and Canadian — take extraordinary efforts to minimize collateral damage and to avoid harm to innocent civilians," he said.
Like, if we see a building with what looks like 200 people in it, and one that appears to have 100, well, we go after the one with 100.
Thompson noted two incidents, on July 27 and Sept. 18, in which civilians died "as a result of our operations."

"Both incidents were investigated, and in both cases, it was found that our soldiers followed proper escalation of force procedures."
He later went on to say off the record, that Blackwater USA had conducted that investigation.
The report suggests international forces often rely on unreliable sources or faulty intelligence when launching the incursions into homes, and there is little public accountability for the raids, which also appears to increase local anger.

There is a lack of co-ordination between coalition forces, foreign soldiers and local authorities, the report says.

"Ordinary people believe that there is no accountability or justice in respect of these violations, regardless of who [has] committed [them].

The overall picture is that … continuing support for Afghan government and international military has been eroded as … consequences of the not carefully planned night raids," the report says.

Monthly tracking information from the United Nations' human rights unit shows air strikes have been responsible for 25 per cent of all civilian deaths in Afghanistan this year. Coalition forces caused the majority of those civilian casualties.


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