Crashing the Wedding Party:

Arrogance, Pentagon Speak and Spooky's1 Carnage


by Marc W. Herold

July 9, 2002


Crashing the Wedding Party: Arrogance, Pentagon Speak and Spooky's Carnage


"How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?

    -- Bob Dylan



Scenes in Mir Wais Hospital in Kandahar2


Mir Wais Hospital officials in Kandahar said most of the dead and injured were women and children. One of the injured, a six-year-old girl named Paliko, was brought to the hospital still wearing her party dress. Villagers said all members of her family were killed. Shah Wali spoke with doctors about the injuries of his wife, Shah Bibi, suffered in the bombing at 2 a.m. on July 1st of Kakarak village. Abdul Baseer, 14, another bombing victim, was brought to Kandahar's hospital by his father and his injured older brother. Five children and a young woman all lay dazed and tearful in one room at Mir Wais. Saboor Gul, 11, who lost her mother in the U.S. attack and whose back and legs were wounded by shrapnel, recounted:


"The airplane was very big. I was up on the roof when a bomb landed and we ran downstairs. After the second bomb I was unconscious and someone brought me here ... I am scared [she said looking at the two foreign journalists]. They are Americans and they bombed us."3


The attack upon Kakarak and three other nearby villages [Shatoghai, Syansang [Siasung, sp.?], and Miandao] in the Deh Rawud district represents the most recent case justifying a perception that U.S. forces shoot first and ask questions later.4 And the attack upon Kakarak is far from being the deadliest to date in the U.S. bombing campaign -- raids upon Karam, Khanabad, Shah Agha and Kamo Ado killed many more innocent Afghan civilians -- facts which the mainstream American media simply ignore. On July 4th, Pamela Constable wrote in the Washington Post, "it was the worst single episode of civilian casualties."5


The area around Tarin Kot and Deh Rawud in Uruzgan province had long been a target of both U.S. bombing raids and Special Forces attacks. Deh Rawud had been bombed at least twice since October 7th. On January 23rd in Hazar Qadam, U.S. Special Forces attacked a village and killed 21 persons. On May 12th, special forces raided the village of Char Chine and killed five farmers.6 A teenager, Mira Jan, 14, was shot through the stomach while sleeping outside in the muddy front of the farmhouse where he worked. Char Chine was the home village of Mullah Dadullah and Mullah Fazel Mazloom, the two former top Taliban leaders in the northern region. Two other U.S. Special Forces raids had been carried out in nearby Deh Rawud, upon the home of Mullah Baradar Akhund. Deh Rawud is also the childhood residence of Mullah Omar, who came to live in Deh Rawud as a young boy after his father died. His mother married his uncle and they went to live in the village of Dehwanawark, a few miles outside Deh Rawud. It might be recalled that on November 1st, the Taliban militia surprised Karzai and a group of anti-Taliban fighters there. Three Karzai supporters were hung in Deh Rawud and Karzai narrowly escaped a similar fate except that four U.S. Air Force Special Operations attack helicopters flew into Deh Rawud and according to U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, air-lifted him out to safer havens in Pakistan [where he had sat out the tumultuous years, 1996-2001].7


As Carlotta Gall has written, U.S. forces have expended a lot of time and killed many innocents, "seeking Mullah Omar in a land of shadows.'8 Germany's major weekly, Der Spiegel, commented sardonically "The 'Enduring Freedom' Which Just Brings Death to More Civilians."9



And the [predictable] words from U.S. Central Command in Tampa?



The U.S. Central Command released a predictable statement saying "close air support from U.S. Air Force B-52 and AC-130 aircraft struck several ground targets, including ant-aircraft artillery sites that were engaging the aircraft." Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesperson in Washington, said [predictably] anti-aircraft was directed at an air patrol and they responded: "at least one bomb was errant. We don't know where it fell ... " And the Commander went on, "it is unclear at this point if those civilian casualties were the result of our errant bomb, or if they were the result of anti-aircraft artillery." 44-100 Afghan civilians killed by anti-aircraft bullets falling back to earth? Blowin' in the wind.


By July 3rd, the official U.S. story had grown yet taller: a large anti-aircraft gun had been seen next to the wedding guest home. A problem is that reporters who visited the scene found no wreckage of the gun and all of the Afghans present who survived denied the presence of any gun. Blowin' in the wind?


But, "errant U.S. bombs" had previously hit three Afghan weddings - in Mazar-i-Sharif on October 15th; in Niazi Qalaye on December 29th; and in Bal Khel village on May 17th.10


What does seem very clear is that a wedding party was taking place in a house around midnight and that, as is customary celebration among Pashtuns, small-arms were being fired in the air. This gunfire drew the attention of the 400 American and Afghan troops who had been in the region for a couple of days searching for the shadows of Mullah Omar. An AC-130 Spectre gunship strafed the area of the four villages. A four-hour hail of munitions ensued. The result is 60 - 80 more dead Afghan civilians -- including an entire family of 25 -- and many injured showing up at Kandahar's Mir Wais hospital. Five villagers of Syansang were killed. Given a ratio of injured to killed civilians of 2:1 in this campaign, the injured number between 120 - 160. A local official in the province of Uruzgan added that three other villages were also hit, probably by the AC-130. Raaz Mohammad, an official in the governor's office in the provincial capital of Tarin Kot told Reuters,


"Other areas of the province were bombed during the day on Monday. We have sent people out in the area to find out about the death toll from other attacks. There must be casualties."


It is simply unconscionably arrogant to wage a war upon villages from the air when one has minimal knowledge of the country and culture and by dropping bombs and firing Gatling cannons and heavy machine guns into civilian-rich areas.


Equally predictable has been the very mild rebuke of U.S. actions coming from the Karzai regime. After all, fellow Pashtuns have been slaughtered and silence would quickly confirm the truth that the puppet regime does the bidding of the Panjshir Tajik boys and the United States. The most an obedient Karzai could offer was drafting a ban on shooting weapons in the air during celebrations.


Equally revealing and utterly predictable are the varying casualty figures being mentioned with the lowest numbers being put out by the U.S.-supported Karzai regime in Kabul, which cited 'at least 20 or 30' [USA Today mentions the same figure]. The local Karzai provincial chieftain in Uruzgan [a Mr. Bismullah] says 'at least 40.' 11 The independent Afghan Islamic Press news agency reported 100 more were killed, a figure echoed in Europe [e.g., The Scotsman]. Staff members in the Kandahar hospital and an eyewitness cited by BBC News Online 12 , mention a figure of 120 dead civilians.13 Both the Pentagon and the Bagram base operation deign from citing specific numbers, opting instead to say on Monday night, "we understand that there were some civilian casualties in the operation, but we do no yet know how many casualties or how they occurred" [Col. Roger King at Bagram].


On Wednesday July 3rd, "fightin' " Victoria Clark, Pentagon spokeswoman, offered the PentagonSpeak profundity,


"There isn't any reason to believe or disbelieve anything."14


The outline of the 'official story' already can be discerned: a large gun in the wedding house garden was firing at reconnaissance craft; al-Qaeda and Taliban had been 'spotted' in the villages; and the 'investigators' [like Colonel Kass Saleh, the American in charge of the 'investigation'] sent to determine The Truth will say that not enough blood can be found splattered around and only very few graves exist, if any. Colonel Robert King will proclaim to the assembled reporter pool in Bagram air base that the case is closed and the attack was justified.


Abdul Rahim, the district head at Deh Rawud had this to say,


"If the Americans want to claim these villagers had heavy guns, then these heroes [the Americans] should come and find them."15



And the Views from the Villagers, Survivors and Aid Workers



"THE celebrations were in full swing, with hundreds of guests preparing for a wedding singing and dancing in the beam of a tractor’s headlights. Out of the darkness a warplane descended, sending rockets exploding through the crowd."16


At one house, women were dancing and clapping and beating drums. At another, men beat drums and fired rifles in the air. Some villagers were sleeping on their roof tops to escape the heat after midnight, others watched the festivities below. They saw the U.S. aircraft in the sky moments before being assailed with a barrage of gunfire and rockets.17 The attack on Kakarak began at midnight and lasted four hours according to local residents and officials. A resident, Abdul Saboor told the BBC,


"There was no one to help last night...."


The Pentagon admitted on July 2nd that it took the American military 12 hours to notify the Afghan regime that some of its civilians had been killed. The delay meant it was too late to mobilize Afghan forces to help transport the wounded to a hospital. The wounded were loaded into private cars and taken to Kandahar. Some of the wounded were escorted by locally-based aid workers [e.g., Afghans for Civil Society], but the dead were left unattended through the night and morning as American troops ordered people to stay inside.


For the gathered villagers, some 500 persons, the attack came out of the blue. Abdul Saboor, a villager who told the BBC that he was at the wedding, said a plane bombed the village at 1 a.m. Monday. "It was dark, it was night, we heard the plane and heard a very big explosion," he said.


The chief of the neighboring district of Chora in Oruzgan Province, Haji Abdul Khaleq Achakzai, said he had visited the site of the bombardment on July 3rd and that casualties could be as high as 200 and that bodies were still being pulled from the rubble late in the afternoon.


The first attack was upon the home of Mohammed Sherif, whose son Abdul Malik, 18, a farmer, was to be married on the following day. Malik's fiancee is the daughter of Mullah Anwar Akhund, brother of Mullah Baradar Akhund [who was one of the four founding fathers of the Taliban, a former deputy minister of defence and the former Taliban military chief of the Central Corps southern region18 ]. The wedding was to unite children of two important families of two villages - Kakarak [the groom] and Miandao [the bride]. By tradition, neither Malik nor his fiancee was present and both escaped injury. Both were at Mullah Akhund's house. But Sherif was among the dead. Ahmed Jan Agha who was playing a traditional Afghan drum during the pre-nuptial party, said


"The first rocket hit the women's section. The second hit the men's section. Then everybody started running. The airplanes were shooting rockets at the people running away. They were chasing us."19


Shah Bibi, 30, a seamstress whose leg was broken in the stampede of fleeing women, said


"Everyone was making so much noise that we never heard the sound of the planes. Then the bombs came and we started running ... there was so much dust we couldn't see."20


Five injured children - all with shrapnel wounds - in Mir Wais hospital told about being chased through wheat fields and dry river beds by the attacking U.S. plane.


Sadiqa, 15, was in the women's section when the U.S. attack began. The first barrage hit the women. Terrified, she and others ran out of the courtyard and into surrounding fields. Sadiqa said she searched for a dry stream bed where she could hide. She was shot by the AC-130 as she ran, the shrapnel shearing into both her legs. Now she lies in Mir Wais in the salmon-colored dress she had put on for the party.21 Her injuries will heal. More difficult will be accepting the loss of her entire family: 15 people died in the raid.


Shooting at people running away - exactly as in earlier U.S. attacks upon Asmani Kilai, Chowkar Karez, Qalaye Niazi, and Char Chine.


Survivors hid in the nearby orchards and fields while the U.S. attack continued in the area for about four hours.


American and Afghan troops entered the village at about 5 a.m., ordering everyone to stay inside. The U.S. soldiers stormed the homes and barred people from attending to the wounded, tying the hands of women and men. Mohammad Anwar, a village elder, said


"First they bombed the womenfolk, killing them like animals. Then they stormed into the houses and tied hands of men and women ... it was cruelty. After bombing the area, the U.S. forces rushed to that house [pointing to his brother Sherif's house], cordoned it off and refused to let people help the victims or take them away for treatment."22


Anwar continued decrying how some of the injured died from loss of blood:


"Until 7 or 8 o'clock in the morning, the Americans did not allow anyone to help the injured and to cover the bodies. Most of their clothes had been burnt off [in the attack]. They kept filming and photographing the naked women ... the people are asking: is this the result of the support we have extended to the Americans? This is humiliation. Our women are disgraced."23


They left at noon and the villagers began burying the dead. At Sherif's home, two gaping holes were in the roof. The mud walls facing the inside were pockmarked with shrapnel holes and bits of metal shards were scattered through the yard. Dried blood and bits of human remains littered the area. Malik returned on Wednesday to discover that 25 members of his family -- his mother and father and 23 relatives -- had been killed. Survivors picked their way through rubble on July 2nd, pointing to shrapnel, bloodstains and barely recognizable human remains.24 The groom mentioned how Gul Agha Shirzai's gunmen entered the village after the attack and stole wedding gifts and money [note: a detachment of U.S. Special Forces serve as personal protector in Kandahar of Gul Agha, now governor of Kandahar. Mohammed Anwar called Gul Agha's militia a bunch of "smugglers, addicts and thieves"25 ].



At the house entrance lay 40 pairs of shoes whose owners had perished in the hail of fire from an AC-130.



The groom, Malik, said with anger:


"My heart is burning with rage. The Americans should be put on trial ... did they find any dead bodies of al-Qaeda people here? ... If someone handed over the whole of Afghanistan to me, it would be no compensation for this."


A day later upon hearing that U.S. spokespersons were saying an anti-aircraft gun had been seen firing from the wedding party compound, Mr. Malik added that this was a..


"Bloodthirsty lie ... they killed every single one of my dear ones. If I had the means, I would fight the Americans."


Malik lost nearly his entire family -- mother, father, four sisters, and three brothers -- in the U.S. attack.


Malik's grandmother, Sardara, called for vengeance while huddled in the courtyard where the wedding festivities had been held, murmuring Islamic prayers and weeping. She told how she had been sitting on the roof with a number of small children watching the pre-wedding party. Then, the planes came and:


"I dropped my grandchildren from the roof one by one, and then I jumped off....what they did was not Islamic, but we are Muslims and our God is powerful. I pray He will punish those who did this. Even burning them in an oven would not be enough. I want nothing but their heads."26


Many of the dead are women and children. An injured six-year-old girl, Paliko, was ferried to Kandahar still in her party dress. Villagers said her entire family was killed. Another injured child, seven-year-old Malika, lost her mother and father, one brother and one sister. Malika's uncle Anar Gul, who brought her to Kandahar, said she is the only survivor from her immediate family. Bibi Asha, five, her foot in a bandage, sits beside her one year-old brother, Hayatullah, his face pocked with shrapnel wounds. Relatives said their parents and siblings were all killed.27



A U.S. projectile punched a hole in the house of Tor Agha who lives in Kakarak. He says:


"Here we found half the body of a child ... the rest was over there ... "


and crossing the compound he points to a step, "and the head, here."28


These are "the orphans of a wedding day massacre."29 As Charles Glover of the Financial Times points out, the carnage extended beyond Kakarat,


"Incredibly, a second engagement party was bombed the same night killing six, in the nearby village of Syasang."


Two other villages were also hit. All four villages are part of the Deh Rawud district. They lie in a lush valley that cuts through the harsh desert. The two main crops are pomegranate and opium poppies.


The groom, Malik, is a nephew of Mohammed Anwar, member of a prominent local family. Mohammad Anwar's brother, Sherif, had joined Karzai last October in fighting the Taliban in Uruzgan province. Sherif and his wife were killed and their four children, as well as Anwar's wife.


At a hospital in Kandahar, Sardar Gul, 25, said that a bomb dropped on the home of the wedding party host and many were killed. Gul, whose six-year-old cousin, Ghulam, was among the wounded, said the partiers were firing rifles in the air in the local form of celebration that night. Ghulam's lungs are perforated by metal shards, his collar bone is shattered.30 By Friday, doctors had removed shrapnel from his lungs. Ghulam's father and mother were killed. Gul said he heard and saw no airplanes during the shooting. First, the house where the wedding was taking place was hit. Then, the U.S. attack shifted to nearby houses and villages and continued from 11 p.m. Sunday until 4 a.m. on Monday.


Wali Jan, 32, a bearded man with a black turban, though not injured, lost one son, two grandchildren and a niece. His brother-in-law, Haji Abdul Raziq, lies semi-conscious in Mir Wais, less one eye, and with four pieces of metal in his abdomen. Raziq lived several miles from Kakarak and his family was hit while sleeping.


Laik, 35, a bearded farmer, lost his wife and three children and several relatives. He also saw two men cut down beside him. He said:


"Three of us were drinking tea together in the courtyard when they first bombed. They killed my friend right where we were. Then we ran out of the compound and my other friend was killed ... the Americans were bombing the house and we could not believe it, we were running everywhere to hide."


Laik fled into the fields and hid in a small ditch.31


Abdul Bari, 30, a farmer in Kakarak village, lost 15 people from his home -- including his wife, brother, ... -- and tended to his severely wounded, heavily bandaged six year old nephew in Mir Wais hospital.32


Nassema, 15, told Reuters in Kandahar:


"A piece of iron sliced the woman's neck in front of me. In a split second her head was not on her body."33


An old woman, Haleema, added,


"I saw bodies flying like straws. I had to jump over six bodies to escape."


Another woman said


"It was like an abattoir. There was blood everywhere. There was smoke and dirt all around, and people were running helter skelter. It was a doomsday scene."


Eighteen-year-old Chinara Akhund was sitting with her friends listening to songs on a tape recorder, happy her sister was about to marry the son of a local tribal chief. Suddenly, she heard a roar of planes and a massive explosion. She said:


"I don't know what happened next. I woke in the hospital."34


Chinara lies in Mir Wais with a broken leg, her hands still painted with henna dye for the wedding. A blood-spattered baby cried in a metal bassinet beside her.


Kako, 8, ran outside when she heard a loud bang, remembering:


"I saw the pool in the courtyard filled with blood, there were bodies lying all around. I saw a woman without a head."


Siddaqa Bibi, 14, said she was counting guests to make sure everyone had a place to sleep when the U.S. attack began. She recalls,


"There was blood everywhere. Then all of a sudden the walls and roofs caved in and we were buried under the debris."


Khaliq Dad, 30, was at the pre-wedding celebration and he lost one female relative and two others were injured. Khaliq said:


"We were all excited by the ceremony and singing songs ... at 1 a.m. someone started shooting, but it normally happens that people shoot in the air during such things. And then the American bombing came ... I went into the house [after the attack], and all the people who had been sitting on the roof, all of them were torn into pieces..."35


Khaliq ran into the fields and was pursued, being wounded in the hip and arm.


Khudai Nazar, 45, lost several relatives in the attack and summarized his feelings,


"They searched the whole village but they did not find any al-Qaeda or Taliban. Those people who bombed our women and children, they are our enemy now."36


Haji Wali's home in the neighboring village of Shatoghai was also attacked. Wali said:


"One day God will give us strength and we will fight them. Even during the Russian occupation [1979-1989] there was never such a sustained bombing of the area. We are weak and they are oppressing us."37


Haji Wali was irate that afterwards, coalition forces had offered the villagers tents as compensation!


"They want to please us by providing us with four tents. Is two or four tents worth the price of our lives? Would the Americans forgive us if we killed two Americans and give them two tents in return? The Taliban used to lock us in jail, but they would not bomb us and dishonour our women."


Jamal Khatun lost her son, 13, and two grandsons - Rehmat and Nabi, both four - in the U.S. strike upon Syansang village.


"We were asleep on the veranda when the bombs hit, we had no idea what was happening,"


she said to the Agence France-Presse reporter as she clutched the blood-soaked clothes of her dead son and two grandchildren.38



Mohammed Anwar, who lost 10 members of his family, held a mourning ceremony on Friday at his home in Miandao, a village next to Kakarak, and said:


"I had 500 guests in my home that night, and there was lots of light to see us ... [the assault is] a shameful attack by a superpower ... whoever did this, should be punished and killed. Then we will be happy."39


An angry Haji Mohammed Anwar said, "Karzai is just a traffic cop working for the Americans."40


On Thursday, the governor of Uruzgan, Yar Mohammad, mentioned that some of the injured had died.41 He has demanded that the 'informers' who told the U.S. to bomb the villages in his province, killing 46 civilians [his numbers], be turned over.


On the same Thursday, some villagers had begun shoveling sand over the bloodstains that had spread out through the dust and dirt. Others were still collecting human body parts.


The whole matter was aptly summarized by Shah Wali ,35, a farmer and the husband of the injured Shah Bibi,


"If there were Taliban or Arabs in the area, they would never have let us make such a wedding party. They did not allow people to make music or dance or beat drums; they said it was not Islamic."42


And four villages were bombed on the same night. Were they all firing anti-aircraft at U.S. planes?


We are now informed that a 'fact-finding' team led by "an Afghan colonel" [who must be a Tajik in the employ of now Marshall Mohammed Fahim, Defense Minister] comprised of U.S. military, Karzai regime representatives and members of the U.S. Embassy are to go to Kakarat and unearth the truth.


The group's composition should immediately raise doubt. A Tajik colonel and U.S. military persons are going to report accurately upon the death of Pashtuns killed by U.S. military forces? More 'truth' would likely be found by persons not obviously associated with one side [and not part of the Bagram 'reporter pool' which largely serves as obedient stenographers of Col. Robert King]. The western investigators will be searching for bodies, which have long been buried. On July 6th, the 'fact-finding' team released its results : five civilians killed and 11 wounded, though General O'Neill reluctantly conceded 48 civilians had perished.


Tabulating just the names and numbers of those killed mentioned in this account, indicates more than 60 innocent civilians died in the villages of Kakarak, Miandao and Syansang alone on the first night of July. This corresponds exactly with what villager leaders now say is the death toll: 63 people died at the wedding party alone, mostly women and children.43



Name of survivor

Names and numbers of killed

Paliko, 6 yr. old girl

All family members killed; 5 est.

Saboor Gul, 11 yr. old girl

Mother killed; 1

Jamal Khatun

Villagers in Syansang killed; 6

Abdul Malik, 18, the groom

Mother, father, 4 sisters, 3 brothers; 9

Malika, 7 yr. old girl

Mother, father, brother and sister; 4

Bibi and Hayatullah

Lost parents and siblings; 6 est.

Ghulam, 6 yr old boy

Mother and father killed; 2

Wali Jan, 32

Son, 2 grandchildren and niece; 4

Laik, 35

Wife, 3 children and several relatives; 6 est

Abdul Bari, 30 and Sadiqa, 15

Lost 15 family members [incl. wife and brother]; 15

Khaliq Dad, 30

Lost a female relative; 1

Khudai Nazar, 45

Lost several relatives; 3 est.

Rozi Khan in Miandao

Child killed and 8 injured; 1

Total Civilians Killed

~ 63



But, aside from these horrible details a larger lesson exists. U.S. forces continue to wage a war of bombing and special forces attacks against a largely invisible enemy. Such an enemy should rather be confronted through slow, painstaking, intelligence-police work on the ground, especially if the targets are two or a few more persons deemed ultimately responsible for the attacks of September 11th.


Patience is required. Finding arms dumps is simply no substitute for apprehending Mssrs. bin Laden and Omar, unless the unspoken American objective is keeping in power a pro-U.S. mayor. The problem is that a de facto puppet, unrepresentative government -- or rather mayor of a capital city -- has been installed, requiring over 5,000 foreign ISAF troops to merely stay in place. How many foreign troops then would a Karzai regime need to exert influence over Afghanistan?


A third consideration is that U.S. forces are fearful of fighting on the ground, hence prefers rapid night-time raids or bombing assaults. The memory of Vietnam casualties lingers. In effect, the U.S. war strategy is incoherent and no exit strategy exists, which does not make it less bloodless, less dangerous, and less criminal.


As Juergen Todenhofer so admirably put it, "you cannot bomb a just world into place."44 Indeed, the U.S. strategy of bombing and special forces raids has perpetuated injustice in Afghanistan.


The orphans of Kakarak are icons of a wedding massacre perpetrated by our AC-130. Forty pairs of shoes lay in the entrance.


"Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind."




The mainstream corporate press dutifully transmits the message from a U.S. military-Tajik 'investigative team' that there are no bodies, too few graves, not enough splattered blood and hence, the wedding deaths are much ado about nothing. The U.S.-U.K. press cries out from Bargram base [reminding one of 'where's the beef'] in tabloid fashion, "where are the bodies?"45


Strange that AP and other news sources are shown 20 and some graves by a grieving bride-groom, Abdul Malik who lost both parents and 23 family members.46

Strange that countless survivors tell a similar story about how their loved-ones died and cite names and numbers.


Strange that Afghans are not believed and Afghan bodies must be certified by the aggressors, whereas hundreds of bodies never recovered in the World Trade Tower disaster are figured into the official count.47


Yet another American double-standard. But is it really that strange that the survivors in the villages of Uruzgan would not take the fellow-travelers of their relatives' killers to the hallowed grave-sites. Would you? A killer kills and then his cohorts demand to see the bodies to be sure that the persons are really dead.


Marc Herold is a professor in the Departments of Economics and Women's Studies at the Whittemore School of Business & Economics, University of New Hampshire. Email:


This article first appeared at, an excellent website where Herold’s earlier essays can be found:





1. Spooky is the nickname given to the deadly AC-130 gunship by its admirers. The gunship forms part of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations forces.


2. Photographs of victims in Mir Wais may be viewed at the slide show complied by Newsday, at


3. Carlotta Gall, "Afghan Raid Leaves a Trail of Shock, Grief and Anger," New York Times, July 5, 2002.


4. Kim Sengupta, "Afghan Civilians Pay Heavy Price for Faulty Intelligence. US Forces Gain Reputation for Shooting First and Asking Questions Later After Another Tragic Accident," The Independent (UK), July 2, 2002.


5. Pamela Constable, "At Wedding, Joy Turns to Chaos," Washington Post, July 4, 2002.


6. Carlotta Gall, "Afghans Say 5 Killed in a U.S. Raid Were Farmers," New York Times, May 20, 2002.


7. Matt Kelley, "U.S. Special Forces in Northern Afghanistan are Coordinating Support, Not Directing Rebel Troops, Pentagon Says," Associated Press, November 7, 2001 at U.S. Army and Air Force Special Operations forces have four bases in Pakistan : Jacobabad; Shamsi; Dalbandin; and Pasni [on the coast]. The first three are located in southern Pakistan fairly close to the border with Afghanistan. Details on these facilities can be seen at Global Security's website, at


8. Carlotta Gall, "Seeking Mullah Omar in a Land of Shadows," New York Times, May 22, 2002.


9. Alexandre Schwabe, "Die 'Bestandige Freiheit' Bringt Immer Mehr Zivilisten de Tod," Der Spiegel, July 3, 2002 at,1518,203711,00.html


10. data in my "Appendix 4. Daily Casualty Count of Afghan Civilians Killed in U.S Bombing and Special Forces Attacks, October 7 Until Present Day," at


11. By Wednesday, the local officials had to concede that 'as many as 50 people may have been killed' - 40 in one village and 8 in two other villages [Alissa J. Rubin and Greg Miller, "Afghanistan Death Toll May be 50. Villagers Killed in a U.S. Sweep of a Troubled Spot Included Friends of Karzai, Local Officials Say. About 150 Were Reportedly Injured," Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2002


12. "Eyewitness: Villager Describes Attack, " BBC News Online, July 2, 2002 at 11:40 GMT] at


13. for example, Behroz Khan cites Tahir Agha who accompanied his uncle and some female members of his family to the hospital in Kandahar as saying the dead number 'well over 100' [Behroz Khan, "Families Still Burying US Strike Victims," The News, July 4, 2002]


14. in Drew Brown, "U.S.: Attacked Villages Sympathize With Terrorists," Knight Ridder Newspapers, July 3, 2002.


15. Ebadullah Edabi and Elizabeth Neuffer, "Bitter Afghans Bewail US Attack, " Boston Globe, July 5, 2002.


16. Catherine Philp, " They Were Shooting at People Running Away'," The Times (London), July 4, 2002 at,,3-346161,00.html


17. "Afghan Villagers Say They Saw US Aircraft Before the Bombardment Began," Agence France-Presse, July 4, 2002 at 6:35 A.M. Constable mentions that a survivor said these were children sleeping on the roof and they were instantly killed.


18. The four key 'founding fathers' of the Taliban movement are : Mullah Omar who has played a disappearing act; Mullah Mohammad Rabbani [1956-2001] who was second-in-command to Mullah Omar until his death from liver cancer in April 2001; Mullah Qari Abdullah, the Taliban Intelligence Chief, who was falsely reported to have died in a U.S bombing attack upon Naka on December 27th and has vanished; Mullah Baradar Akhund, a close personal friend of Omar also from Uruzgan, who served as commander of the Kabul-based Central Army Corps and who has vanished. In other words, the Bush 'War on Terrorism' has failed to apprehend any of the Taliban's four founding fathers. Other key Taliban leaders who have eluded capture include: Mullah Jalaluddin Haqqani and Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Osmani. The names of Baradar, Osmani, Dadullah and Haqqani are frequently mentioned as actual or potential leaders of a Taliban guerrilla movement.


19. Adam Brown, "Afghan Survivors Recount U.S. Raid," Associated Press, July 3, 2002 at 10:23 A.M. ET at and at 


20. "Afghan Villagers Describe Devastation. U.S. Offers Few Details on Raid That Killed 44," Hartford Courant, July 4, 2002


21. Alissa J. Rubin, "U.S. Raid on Village Raises Hard Questions," Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2002.


22. " 'Cruel' Americans Stormed Homes, Filmed Naked Women; Villagers," Agence France-Presse, July 7, 2002 at 10:35 A.M.


23. Agence France-Presse, op. cit.


24. Philp, op. cit.


25. Constable, July 5, 2002, op.cit.


26. Pamela Constable, "Sandals and Shrapnel Dot Attack Site," Washington Post, July 5, 2002: A12.


27. Gall, July 5, 2002, op. cit.


28. Charles Glover, "Afghan Night of Terror Leaves Anger in Its Wake," Financial Times, July 5, 2002.


29. Jeanette Oldham, "Orphans of a Wedding Day Massacre," The Scotsman, July 2, 2002 at


30. "Afghan Attack Victims Speak of Loss," Associated Press, July 3, 2002 reprinted in Las Vegas Sun, July 3, 2002.


31. Gall, July 5, 2002, op. cit.


32. Constable, op. cit.


33. Denise Duclaux and Saeed Ali Achakzai, "Officials Probe Bombing as Anger Mounts," Associated Press, July 3, 2002 at 10:55 A.M. ET. A photo of Malika in Kandahar hospital can be viewed at


34. Saeed Ali Achakzai, "Afghan Victims Tell of Carnage From U.S. Bombardment," Associated Press, July 3, 2002 at 12:07 P.M. ET.


35. Ebadi and Neuffer, op. cit.


36. Gall, July 5, 2002, op. cit.


37. Agence France-Presse, op. cit.


38. Agence France-Presse, op. cit.


39. Constable, July 5, 2002, op.cit.


40. Glover, op. cit.


41. "Informers Misled US Pilots, Says Governor," Dawn (Pakistan), July 5, 2002


42. Constable, op. cit.


43. Constable, July 5, 2002, op. cit.


44. see Juegen Todenhofer, "We Can't Simply Bomb a Just World Into Shape. It's a Lot Easier to Declare a Victory Than to Earn It," Chicago Tribune, June 30, 2002 at


45. see News 24 at,1113,2-10_1208994,00.html. Also "Probe Team Wraps, Still No Sign of Graves: US Spokesman,", July 5, 2002 at 4:32 P.M.


46. see "Afghan Villager Shows Victims' Graves," Associated Press, July 4, 2002


47. No concern to examine the bits of steel scrap of the WTC for DNA samples to detect the existence of the WTC victims. Instead, 70,000 tons of WTC scrap is carted off by ship to India and China for recycling.