McChrystal Admits U.S. Troops are Killing Innocent Afghans at Checkpoints

Monday, April 05, 2010

America’s top commander in Afghanistan, Army General Stanley McChrystal, continues to struggle with the problem of U.S. troops shooting innocent citizens at checkpoints or near passing convoys. During a virtual town hall meeting with U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, McChrystal told his audience: “We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.” Officials say American and NATO troops have killed 30 Afghans and wounded 80 others since last summer in episodes the military calls “escalation of force.”

McChrystal added that during the nine-plus months he has been in charge, in none of the cases in which a civilian was hurt “has it turned out that the vehicle had a suicide bomb or weapons in it and, in many cases, had families in it."
Despite imposing new rules of engagement since taking over U.S. military operations, McChrystal finds himself frustrated over the lack of improvement with civilian killings in this area. As shootings continue, more Afghans are driven into the hands of insurgents, according to an American soldier guarding detainees at Bagram Air Base.
“There are stories after stories about how these people are turned into insurgents,” Sergeant Major Michael Hall said. “Every time there is an escalation of force we are finding that innocents are being killed.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff


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