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The Afghan War's
Heavy Toll On Children

By Brian McAfee

03 September, 2008

Again today reports coming out of Afghanistan indicate more dead children. Three were killed and seven injured when western troops fired artillery shells at a civilian house in western Afghanistan. This occurs in the wake of the August 22 bombing that resulted in the deaths of 90 people, 60 children, 15 women and 15 men. Afghans and UN officials have confirmed the numbers but the U.S. insists there were only 5 dead children and 25 dead Taliban. Civilian casualties are a perpetual reality in Afghanistan. In July 47 were killed in another air strike. Last year there were said to be 320 civilian deaths due to U.S. and NATO attacks, this year no improvement appears evident.

A tragic historic reality is the U.S.'s relationship to the most extreme members of the Mujahideen. In the early 1980's the Reagan administration along with congressman Charlie Wilson sought out, funded and armed some of the worst human rights abusers and anti-democratic forces in its Cold War maneuvers to expel the Soviets. During that time I lived in Pasadena, California and recall Pacifica Radio (KPFK) reporting on the Mujahideen's routinely bombing and burning down girls schools, rape and murder of girls, This particularly by one of Reagan's "freedom fighters" The evolution of the Mujahideen to today's Taliban was a predictable occurrence.

Rebuilding Afghanistan's infrastructure, food aid and agricultural support are common sense endeavors we should be engaged in. The most exemplary American in the region is Greg Mortenson Who has built and funded dozens of girls schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. His book "Three Cups Of Tea" is a must read for those who want to gain a better understanding of the area. A cessation of killing civilians should be the U.S. and NATO's primary venture not continued denials an excuses.

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