Foreign Policy Blogs

Two More Civilians Bystanders Die as NATO Targets Haqqani Network

Even as the world is waking up to new images of more atrocities committed by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, even as Afghans are taking to the streets, outside their villages to protest what they perceive to be American aggression against Afghan soil, two more deaths of innocent civilians have been reported, this time in the northern province of  Khost.

The New York Times is reporting that while NATO helicopter gunship was targeting a leader of the Haqqani network, two men walked into the target zone and were killed along with the intended targets.  (The NATO report suggests that more civilians might have been killed, but fortunately were just short of the target, which was a moving vehicle.)

Now this is the second, third, umpteenth time that a target zone was misidentified or that bystanders got in the way and, then, in spite of all that the target was, nevertheless, engaged.  Now obviously this incident was entirely an accident, none of the civilian casualties were intended.  But that is not how the Afghan people view the situations.  For them, its not that the U.S or NATO intend to kill Afghans, although some think given the news of teh U.S. rogue “kill teams’; its rather that the U.S and NATO are culpable for these deaths, numerous or measured as they may be.

That widespread sense of culpability threatens to  undo every good will gesture that the U.S and its soldiers have so far tried to parlay into real results.  This, even despite Lakhdar Brahimi’s counsel that Afghans need to deal amongst themselves to reach a settled peace.  Yes, that’s indeed true.  However, as that day approaches and more innocent civilians are killed, the U.S. and NATO might well be sidled out of the negotiations, that they would have otherwise had a strong hand in molding.



Faheem Haider

Faheem Haider is a political analyst, writer and artist. He holds advanced research degrees in political economy, political theory and the political economy of development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and New York University. He also studied political psychology at Columbia University. During long stints away from his beloved Washington Square Park, he studied peace and conflict resolution and French history and European politics at the American University in Washington DC and the University of Paris, respectively.

Faheem has research expertise in democratic theory and the political economy of democracy in South Asia. In whatever time he has to spare, Faheem paints, writes, and edits his own blog on the photographic image and its relationship to the political narrative of fascist, liberal and progressivist art.

That work and associated writing can be found at the following link:

Great Decisions Discussion group