The Forgotten Victims of the Bales Massacre

Monday, March 26, 2012
(photo: Jangir, Agence France-Presse)
Of the 17 Afghans murdered by Bales on March 11, 11 of them were relatives of farmer Muhammad Wazir, who lives in the village of Balandi in the Zangabad area of Panjwae district.
 
Wazir was away at the time of the attack, visiting his brother, a four-hour drive away. A neighbor called him on his cell phone with the terrible news. “‘The Americans have attacked your house and killed your entire family!’ he shouted to me,” Wazir explained to the press.
 
Wazir drove home as fast as he could. He found the dead bodies of his mother, Shah Tarina; his wife, Bibi Zohra; two sons, 14-year-old Ismatullah and 8-year-old Faizullah; four daughters, 12-year-old Masooma, 8-year-old Farida, 3-year-old Nabiya and 2-year-old Palwasha: his brother, Akhtar Mohammed; his brother’s wife, Bibi Nazia; and a 15-year-old nephew, Essa Mohammed. Their bodies were burned. In fact, Wazir found no bullet holes in Palwasha’s body, leading him to believe that Bales burned the toddler alive.
 
“Like anyone, I wanted my children to be doctors, engineers—important people,” said Wazir in an interview. “All my dreams are buried under a pile of dust now….It hurts me a lot when I remember occasions when I shouted at my sons because I asked them to do something and they ignored it,” Wazir said. “I feel so very sorry now.”
 
The only other survivor of Wazir’s family is his 4-year-old son, Habib Shah, who was with him at the time of the massacre. “He was asking me about the cadavers, and I tried to make him leave, but he wouldn’t, he just kept crying,” Wazir said, according to The Wall Street Journal. “He keeps asking me about his mother, brothers and sisters. Sometimes, he wakes up in the middle of the night.”
 
Mullah Baran’s brother, Mohammad Dawood, was apparently Bales’ first victim. “The Americans said they came here to bring peace and security,” said Baran, “but the opposite happened. Now, this village is a nest of ghosts.”
 
Bales, under arrest at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, has been charged with 17 counts of murder, including one for an unborn fetus. On Saturday, the U.S. paid financial compensation to the survivors of his victims, $50,000 for each person killed and $11,000 for those who were wounded.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
 
To Learn More:
Afghan Farmer Recounts Being Told Americans Killed Family (by Eltaf Najafizada and James Rupert, Bloomberg News)
Afghan Father Copes With Aftermath (by Charles Levinson, Yaroslav Trofimov and Ghousuddin Frotan, Wall Street Journal)

US Soldier Shoots 17 Civilians Dead in Kandahar (Pajhhok Afghan News) (graphic video) 

Comments

clarencedarrow 8 years ago
for the sake of us americans with old-fashioned sensibilities about justice, you should probably avoid pinning the massacre on bales (i.e., "the bales massacre" headline) until he's been convicted. please note that according to an ap story published in an australian newspaper, the massacre was carried out by a squad of american soldiers, not bales alone, which if true would account for the seeming impossibility of one man's being able to commit this atrocity on his own.

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