SPECIAL OPS GONE WILD: A Tale Of Two Massacres


NEW YORK TIMES:  KABUL, Afghanistan — On Feb. 12 in a village near Gardez, in Paktia Province, Afghan police special forces paired with American Special Operations forces [NOT pictured, above]  raided a house late at night looking for two Taliban suspects, and instead killed a local police chief and a district prosecutor when they came out, armed with Kalashnikov rifles, to investigate. Three women who came to their aid, according to interviews with family members and friends, were also killed; one was a pregnant mother of 10, the other a pregnant mother of 6. A press release from the International Security Assistance Force, as NATO’s force here is known, said at first that the three women had been discovered bound and gagged, apparently killed execution style. NATO officials now say their bodies were wrapped in traditional manner before burial. Admiral Smith said Afghan forces fired the shots in Special_Operations_Squadron.jpgthe compound. “The regret is that two innocent males died,” Admiral Smith said. “The women, I’m not sure anyone will ever know how they died.” He added, however, “I don’t know that there are any forensics that show bullet penetrations of the women or blood from the women.” He said they showed signs of puncture and slashing wounds from a knife, and appeared to have died several hours before the arrival of the assault force. In respect for Afghan customs, autopsies are not carried out on civilian victims, he said.

Interviews with relatives and family friends give a starkly different account and described an American cover-up. They say a large number of people had gathered for a party in honor of the birth of a grandson of the owner of the house, Hajji Sharaf Udin. After most had gone to sleep, the police commander, Mr. Udin’s son, Mohammed Daoud, went out to investigate the arrival of armed men and was shot fatally.When a second son, Mohammed Zahir, went out to talk to the Americans because he spoke some English, he too was shot and killed. The three women — Mr. Udin’s 19-year-old granddaughter, Gulalai; his 37-year-old daughter, Saleha, the mother of 10 children; and his daughter-in-law, Shirin, the mother of six — were all gunned down when they tried to help the victims, these witnesses claimed. All the survivors interviewed insisted that Americans, who they said were not in uniform, conducted the raid and the killings, and entered the compound before Afghan forces. Among the witnesses was Sayid Mohammed Mal, vice chancellor of Gardez University, whose son’s fiancée, Gulalai, was killed. “They were killed by the Americans,” he said. “If the government doesn’t listen to us, I have 50 family members, I’ll bring them all to Gardez roundabout and we’ll pour petrol on ourselves and burn ourselves to death.” MORE

RELATED: The Afghan government was holding secret talks with the Taliban’s No. 2 when he was captured in Pakistan, and the arrest infuriated President special_operations_wing.jpgHamid Karzai, according to one of Karzai’s advisers. The detention of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar — second in the Taliban only to one-eyed Mullah Mohammed Omar — has raised new questions about whether the U.S. is willing to back peace discussions with leaders who harbored the terrorists behind the Sept. 11 attacks. Karzai “was very angry” when he heard that the Pakistanis had picked up Baradar with an assist from U.S. intelligence, the adviser said. Besides the ongoing talks, he said Baradar had “given a green light” to participating in a three-day peace jirga that Karzai is hosting next month. MORE

RELATED: The Pentagon said Monday that it was looking into allegations that a Defense Department official had set up an intelligence unit staffed by contractors to hunt insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan under the guise of social and cultural information-gathering. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman declined to confirm or deny whether a criminal investigation had been opened into activities by Michael D. Furlong, a former Special Operations officer who now works as a senior civilian officer for the Joint Information Operations Warfare Center at Lackland Air Force Base, Tex. Furlong’s operation, which included numerous former intelligence and Special Operations officials now in the private sector, raised hackles at the CIA, where it was considered “a semi-independent intelligence-collection operation in a war zone,” according to a U.S. official familiar with the agency’s concerns. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that it was “not apparent who authorized” the operation but that the “potential for disaster” was special_operations_squadron.jpegobvious. A second source close to the intelligence community said that “both the [CIA] and the Special Operations community . . . have been expressing grave concern for a long time. Why he was able to keep his job, much less continue this program, is a mystery.” MORE

RELATED: One of Osama bin Laden’s sons has called on Iran’s supreme leader to release members of his family believed to be under house arrest there since they fled Afghanistan in 2001, according to a letter posted Monday on the Internet. Khalid bin Laden’s statement accused Iranian authorities of mistreating about 30 siblings, saying they had been “beaten and repressed.” The letter, which was dated early January, appeared to have been written shortly after news reports surfaced about of one his sisters who escaped from her Iranian guards and reportedly is taking refuge in the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. It has long been believed that Iran has in custody a number of bin Laden’s children who fled Afghanistan in 2001 following the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S., most notably his sons, Saad and Hamza, who were thought to have held positions in al-Qaida. But Iran never confirmed it, and claimed to have been surprised to discover 17-year-old Eman was at the Saudi Embassy. MORE

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