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TOI: Why is America attacking the innocent? [Karam Tragedy]
15/10/2001 12:13 pm Mon
KARAM: A US bomb intended for a training camp of Osama
Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network instead decimated this hamlet
of impoverished Afghan farmers, demolishing dozens of homes
and wiping out whole familes, residents said on Sunday.
A group of international journalists taken to the village by
Afghanistan's ruling Taliban were greeted with scenes of
devastation and angry protests by locals demanding to know
why America's wrath had been directed at them.
Dozens of houses had been reduced to empty, roof-less shells
or razed to the ground. An unexploded bomb lay just metres from
the edge of the village and the stench of rotting flesh still hung in
The village has been abandoned since the attack took place in
the early hours of Thursday morning. But people returned on
Sunday, apparently at the instigation of Taliban officials, to
scream anti-American slogans and recount their stories.
Villagers' estimates of the death toll varied between 180 and 230
in a settlement of mud-brick houses that could not have been
home to more than 400 people. There was no way of verifying
their estimates of the numbers of people killed.
"One hundred and eighty people died here. Why are the
Americans attacking our innocent people?" one villager, Gul
Ahmed, told AFP.
Haji Naziz asked: "I have lost my nearest and dearest. Why have
they been killed? What is our crime?" Another villager, Ziarat
Jul, said more than 230 people had been killed.
Abdul Rasool, 40, said his was one of the homes destroyed. His
wife, whose name he did not want to give, and three sons, Satik,
6, Turial, 10 and Pardes, 15, were all killed, he said.
Rasool said he had escaped because, as he has done every
day of his adult life, he had risen before dawn to attend morning
prayers. He was on his way home, at around 5.00 am, when the
"I heard a huge bang and I ran to my house but there was
nothing I could do. It was completely destroyed," he said. "My
family, all my animals are dead. I have nothing left. Why has this
happened to me?" Alam Gul, 18, said he had lost both his
parents, four brothers, and two sisters.
Qudra Ula, 35, a resident of a neighbouring village, said he had
recovered 15 bodies from the rubble of collapsed houses and
taken them to be buried.
The village of Karam is located around 40 kilometres (25 miles)
west of the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.
The region, believed to have been home to a number of
al-Qaeda training camps, has been repeatedly attacked since
the airstrikes began on September 7.
But the residents of Karam denied that there had been a training
camp in the area. "Where is Osama, just show me," said Gul
The reported victims at Karam were among more than 300
civilians which the Taliban says have been killed since the
airstrikes began. Only a handful of these have been confirmed
The US defence department has not commented on the incident
in Karam but has confirmed that a 2,000-pound (907-kilo) bomb
aimed at a military helicopter hit a residential area near Kabul
airport on Saturday.