Tuesday, June 26, 2007

NATO Shrugs Off Dead Afghan Civilians

Problem, what problem?

The deputy commander of both US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Brigadier Joseph Votel, says there's no need for any new procedures to cut down on civilian casualties.

He told Voice of America, ""No, there's no particularly new procedures that we are using right now. We think the procedures we have in place are good. They work. They help us minimize the effects on this."

Votel, naturally, blames the spate of civilian deaths not on his own side's excessive reliance on air strikes and artillery barrages against residential areas but on the Taliban.

John Sifton of Human Rights Watch says both sides are crossing the line. "The Taleban is committing violations of the Laws of War in almost everything they do," he said. "NATO and the United States, by contrast, is not setting out to violate the Laws of War across the board. However, they're failing to take precautions in a lot of cases, and may occasionally cross the line and violate the Laws of War themselves."

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