[Last update: 12 November 2001]

Hundreds of civilians killed in US attacks near Kandahar and Kabul

by Ali Abunimah
November 11, 2001

Summary of Al-Jazeera coverage by Ali Abunimah

Hundreds of people have been killed in US bomb attacks near the Afghan cities of Kabul and Kandahar over the past two days, Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television reported this morning.

At least 35 passengers were killed when the bus they were traveling in was hit on a road north of Kabul today. The bus was heading towards a village near the front line north of the capital. The television showed pictures of a mangled vehicle in a roadway with the chassis flipped up on its side.

The Al-Jazeera reporter said that dead and injured were taken to hospitals in Kabul but that most had died on the way. At least 8 corpses, some badly damaged, were shown laid out on the bare floor of a building said to be a hospital.

Allouni said that other bodies had been blown to pieces and were not recovered. The television briefly showed what appeared to be bloody clothes and body parts amidst the wreckage of the bus. An elderly man was shown lamenting before the body of his dead son in the hospital. Another son was missing he said. The man said he had he had warned them not go on the bus because it was too dangerous, but many of the passengers were going out of the city to try to find wheat. The report said that a young boy, shown covered in bandages and blood and lying delirious in a hospital bed, was the only survivor. The report said many of his family members riding on the bus had been killed. The television showed anguished relatives arriving at the hospital.

Al-Jazeera reported that at least 270 people had been killed when two villages near Kandahar had been completely destroyed by US bombing. Al-Jazeera reporter in the Kandahar area, Yousef Al-Shouli reported from the village of Cheagha (ph.) 70 kms southwest of Kandahar.

The television showed what was apparently a village of one-storey mud-brick houses totally reduced to rubble. Amidst the rubble were clearly visible parts of bombs and rockets, some of them hanging in trees. An area of small shops, said to be the village market was also totally destroyed, as was evident from the images. A man identified as Muhammad Anwar, said that his store and only source of income, with which he feeds a family of 15, was totally destroyed.

The television showed Afghans digging through the rubble with shovels, looking for relatives. A man interviewed said that 70 houses had been destroyed and most of the victims were still in the rubble. Nevertheless, many bodies had been recovered.

The television showed people gathered in a makeshift cemetery mourning near freshly dug graves, some of them said to contain the remains of entire families. A man was picking up body parts in a bag for burial, most no bigger than his hand, including what was clearly identifiable as a human ear. Villagers said that 122 people had been killed in one night alone. A man interviewed by a graveside said that he had been in the city when he heard news from the village that his brother was ill. When he returned to the village he found that his family home had been totally destroyed and he pulled 16 bodies out of it and that the bodies of a son and daughter were still missing.

One pile of rubble was said by the reporter to have been the village mosque. Lying on top of the rubble were the mangled loudspeakers which had been used to issue the call to prayer.

Al-Shouli said that eyewitnesses from the village of Asmanze (ph.), which was across on the other side of a mountain from Cheagha, said that US warplanes had bombed that village totally destroying most of the houses and killing about 250 people. Villagers say, according to Al-Shouli, that there are no Taliban bases or hideouts in the two villages.

Al-Shouli said that Taliban officials in Kandahar explained their apparent loss of the northern city of Mazar Sharif and other areas as a "tactical withdrawal" in order to avoid a bloodbath in heavily populated areas, and that while the Northern Alliance controlled the center of the city, the Taliban had retreated to the hills. Al-Shouli said that it was clear, however, that the Taliban could not withstand the heavy US bombing of their positions in certain areas, including the use of 7 ton "Daisy Cutter" bombs, and had hence withdrawn to what they said were more defensible positions. The Taliban also say that they withdraw from certain populated areas whenever they judge that the entry of opposition fighters would result in a battle that would cause a bloodbath among the population. The United States has repeatedly claimed that Taliban fighters deliberately hide in civilian areas.

Still images from the above-described events will be
[has been]
posted at the following site later today or tomorrow: http://www.dqc.org/~ben/ Ali Abunimah


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