U.S. Launches Afghan Offensive

May 7, 2007

On April 30, U.S. and NATO troops launched "Operation Silicon" in Afghanistan, and officials are calling it "the deadliest fighting in the country since January."

The operation in the southern province of Helmand and in the western province of Herat involves thousands of U.S. and British troops.

Soon after the offensive began, reports began appearing that large numbers of Afghan civilians were being killed, and in one incident over 51 people, many women and children, were slaughtered by an airstrike and gunfire. The bloodshed enraged local residents, and over 500 people gathered in front of the police station and government headquarters in the nearby town of Shindand on April 30th, claiming the dead were civilians and chanting, "The Americans are killing us," said district police chief Gul Aqa.

A man being treated in a hospital on May 2 said he was wounded by an airstrike that did not hit any "insurgents." "There were no Taliban," he said. "Ten of my relatives have been killed, including two of my cousins," the man, Mohammed, told reporters. Osman Kalali, a local lawmaker also said: "The casualties were women, children, this kind of people."