One rarely gets to put a face and a voice to the victims of the Afghanistan war. Most often, our media reports on civilian killings with b-roll provided by the U.S. military so that while the announcer relays news of the latest civilian casualty, you see bland images of troops marching by. Over the past two weeks, though, we here at Brave New Foundation’s Rethink Afghanistan project have dug deep into the February 12 massacre in Gardez, and I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a man who lost a cousin and a future daughter-in-law during that awful special forces night raid. Hearing the story from a person who was there, who lost loved ones, who conveys his outrage about the hollow war rhetoric of our leaders, really drives home the necessity of ending this brutal, costly war.
It also makes you hungry for justice for those killed and maimed in our name. Take a moment to watch our exclusive interview with Sayid Mohammed Mal, vice chancellor of Gardez University and survivor of the raid. Then, sign our petition to demand an investigation into the raid and the cover-up attempt by General McChrystal’s forces.
Mr. Mohammed’s cousin, Mohammed Daoud, was a well-respected local police officer who’d been trained by coalition forces. Daoud was the first person shot in the raid, but didn’t die immediately. The special forces raiders killed his brother, Saranwal Zahir, shortly after as he shouted, “Don’t shoot! We work for the government!”
Then two pregnant women were killed and a teenage girl was mortally wounded. The girl, Gululai, and Daoud died about two hours after the raid began. Witnesses say the special forces team prevented the survivors from seeking immediate medical attention for the wounded.
Instead, they busied themselves tampering with evidence at the scene, including digging the bullets out of the women’s bodies.
Mohammed said of President Obama’s rhetoric:
“I tell Mr. Obama that you fight for security on this planet, but your people came and mass murdered government people in blood in Khataba, Gardez District. You be the judge, Mr. Obama, the president of the United States of America, whether you sent them to bring peace or to mass murder government people?”
Talking to Mr. Mohammed was a sad, sobering experience. When you’re fighting against something as huge and nebulous as “war,” the odds can seem overwhelming. But when it comes down to something so simple and powerful as justice for this man and his family, things become clear. McChrystal’s team in Afghanistan has shown that, when it comes to the facts of this incident, they aren’t credible. Mr. Mohammed wants justice for his family and real accountability for those involved.
That’s why we’re turning to you.
Please take a moment to watch our new video featuring an interview with Mohammed, and sign our petition calling for an independent investigation into what happened and whether ISAF tried to cover it up.
Then, join us on Facebook to help end this war so that things like this don’t happen again in our name.
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