Rumsfeld’s Special Unit Responsible for Worst Civilian Killings in Afghanistan

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A commando unit created by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has been behind the worst attacks in Afghanistan involving civilians, military and foreign news sources have discovered. U.S. Marines Corps’ Special Operations Command (MarSOC) was established during Rumsfeld’s last year in power, despite opposition from Marine Corps and Special Forces commanders, deploying its first units in August 2006. MarSOC was sent to Afghanistan in early 2007, and immediately got into trouble when members of Fox Company—who took to calling themselves Task Force Violence—opened fire on numerous civilians near Jalalabad following a car bomb attack on the Marines. A U.S. Army commander, Colonel John Nicholson, said he was “deeply ashamed” by MarSOC’s actions, which he called “a stain on our honor.”

 
Only days after the Jalalabad incident, which left 19 civilians dead, Fox Company commandoes rolled a car and fired on civilians again—prompting American military leaders to immediately withdraw the “cowboys” from the country. A military court of inquiry was then convened at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to determine whether two of Fox Company’s officers, Major Fred Galvin and Captain Vincent Noble, should be charged for lying, conspiring to lie, dereliction of duty and failure to obey lawful orders. The two men were ultimately let off.
 
The military review did not stop MarSOC from being involved in other controversial attacks in Afghanistan. Even though Fox Company was removed from the country, other elements of the elite 2,500-man command continued to operate, oftentimes in a rogue manner that infuriated Army generals. In August 2008, MarSOC commandoes called in air strikes on Azizabad, in Herat province, leaving more than 90 people dead, many of them children.
 
A similar, even more deadly attack occurred two weeks ago in Bala Baluk, in Farah province, where, according to an Afghan government report, 140 civilians—93 of whom were children—died after MarSOC called in air strikes to rescue an Afghan police patrol that had been ambushed by the Taliban. That attack, which has included accusations of chemical agents being employed, provoked considerable backlash from the Afghani populace and leaders, including President Hamid Karzai.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
Rumsfeld's Renegade Unit Blamed for Afghan Deaths (by Jerome Starkey, The Independent)
‘Like a Bunch of Cowboys’ (by Trista Talton, Military Times)
U.S. Strikes Killed 140 Villagers: Afghan Probe (by Hamid Shalizi and Peter Graff, Reuters)

Comments

Pulsehead 4 years ago
The final results of the investigation show exactly what a useless rag like this is worth. Politically motivated rubbish by cowards that never served a day in their life and wouldn't know a thing about a dangerous situation right up to the point it killed them. Keep up the good reporting you morons because it just makes our side look smarter.
kelly 4 years ago
Finally: the truth surfaces http://www.militarytimes.com/longform/military/2015/03/04/task-force-violent-the-unforgiven/23940295/
james horak 10 years ago
marsoc is awesome!!!!!
Nathan Taggert 10 years ago
How do you know they are responsible when the investigation just started? The Military has one account and the Taliban have another. The Afghan government's account keeps changing as well. They didn't call themselves "Task Force Violence." that was the name 1 Major gave for Fox Company.

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