Tag Archive: Afghanistan

Media Are Blamed as US Bombing of Afghan Hospital Is Covered Up

New York Times headline corrected

A US-led NATO military coalition bombed a hospital run by international humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders (known internationally as Medecins Sans Frontières, MSF) in Afghanistan, killing at least 22 people—12 staff members and 10 patients, including three children—and wounding 37 more.

AFP, the first network to report the story, in the early hours of October 3, quoted NATO saying, “US forces conducted an air strike in Kunduz city…. The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

MSF promptly issued a statement (10/3/15), revealing that it had been “hit several times during sustained bombing and was very badly damaged.” In an update hours later, MSF said it “condemns in the strongest possible terms the horrific bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, which was full of staff and patients.”

The humanitarian organization also indicated multiple times—and in bold capital letters—that “all parties to the conflict, including in Kabul and Washington, were clearly informed of the precise location (GPS Coordinates) of the MSF facilities in Kunduz, including the hospital, guesthouse, office and an outreach stabilization unit.” MSF says the US “repeatedly and precisely” hit the hospital.

Morever, the aid group explained that the “bombing in Kunduz continued for more than 30 minutes after American and Afghan military officials in Kabul and Washington were first informed by MSF that its hospital was struck.” That is to say, the US persisted in bombing a hospital that it explicitly knew before and during the attack was a hospital.

If you read US corporate media coverage of this incident, however, US culpability would likely not be evident. Instead, readers would learn that a hospital was bombed in Afghanistan, and that people died. Who exactly carried out the bombing would not be clear.

cnn us air attack

“Air Attacks Kill at Least 19 at Afghanistan Hospital; US Investigating,” wrote CNN (9/3/15). Who carried out those attacks? Never asked is who else could possibly have bombed the hospital. What other air forces are attacking Kunduz? Did the bombs magically fall from the sky? CNN provides no answer.

“Aerial bombardments blew apart a Doctors Without Borders hospital in the battleground Afghan city of Kunduz about the time of a US airstrike” CNN said. The blowing apart of the hospital just appears to be a temporal coincidence.

fox us investigate airstrike

Fox News‘ headline (10/3/15) reads “US Officials Investigate Airstrike in Afghanistan That Killed at Least 19 at Doctors Without Borders Hospital.”

The New York Times completely rewrote and changed the title of its report on the bombing seven times. Early on October 3, the Times published an article headlined “Airstrike Hits Hospital in Afghanistan, Killing at Least 9.” Minutes later, it changed the headline to “Airstrike Hits Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan.” Two hours after, it became “Afghan Hospital Hit by Airstrike, Pentagon Says.” Then “US Investigates After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital,” before finalizing as “US Is Blamed After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital.”

The over 20 versions of the article published in the Times‘ website can be seen at the website NewsDiffs, which monitors edits to pieces published in large new outlets. Because the Times changed the web URL for the article when changing the headlines, there are three separate entries on NewsDiffs.

newsdiffs nyt us bombs afghan hospital

Not one of the five New York Times headlines indicated that the US was responsible for the bombing. The final title, “US Is Blamed After Bombs Hit Afghan Hospital,” which was published in print, fails to acknowledge that it was the US who dropped those bombs, which explains why it is blamed.

The New York Times‘ other story (10/4/15), “Doctors Without Borders Says It Is Leaving Kunduz After Strike on Hospital,” was also substantially edited and rewritten numerous times. It’s likewise full of weasel words and quotes from the US government.

The Washington Post (10/4/15) also changed headlines and URLs for its reporting, making it difficult to track. It did choose a title acknowledging the US role in the attack, but attributed it to MSF, writing, “Doctors Without Borders Says US Airstrike Hit Hospital in Afghanistan; at Least 19 Dead.”

AP headlined an article (10/4/15) updating the death toll, “Doctors Without Borders Leaves Afghan City After Airstrike.” The piece says, “A deadly airstrike destroyed its hospital and killed 22 people, as the US and Afghan governments vowed to get to the bottom of the carnage.” Not mentioned is that the US government is responsible for the carnage.

Ambiguous, misleading and even downright dishonest language abounds throughout the coverage. US media spin the story to reflect positively on the culprit; they report that the US is investigating the atrocity, while failing to acknowledge that the US itself is responsible for the atrocity.

This technique is very reminiscent of the loaded language police departments use to downplay police brutality—language that is often repeated verbatim by journalists who just uncritically quote government press releases.

Not all media were as biased in the interest of the Pentagon, however. Even some US news outlets were clear and honest in their reporting.

slate us airstrike

Slate (10/3/15) was one of the few publications to report without the equivocation. “US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan Kills at Least 19,” it said. The next day, Slate (10/4/15) followed up with the piece “Doctors Without Borders Says US May Have Committed War Crime.”

US: We Accidentally Bombed Hospital to Kill Taliban

After the attack, MSF released a statement saying “All indications currently point to the bombing being carried out by international Coalition forces”—that is to say, NATO.

As details became clearer, the media narrative began to shift from one of obfuscation or even denial of the US bombing to one of apologism and justification. When it was obvious that the US and NATO were responsible for killing and wounding scores of people at a hospital, the US and Afghan governments began to fall back on the “human shields” excuse.

A Washington Post article (10/4/15) first titled “Afghan Official: Hospital in Airstrike Was ‘a Taliban Base,’” and subsequently changed to “Afghan Response to Hospital Bombing Is Muted, Even Sympathetic,” quotes Afghan government officials who claimed the “hospital has a vast garden, and the Taliban were there.” Yet MSF’s aforementioned statement makes it clear that the US “repeatedly and precisely” bombed the hospital, not the surrounding areas, which were “left mostly untouched.”

The aid organization also explicitly denied fighters ever being anywhere inside the hospital compound.

In a statement titled “MSF Response to Spurious Claims That Kunduz Hospital Was ‘A Taliban Base,’” the aid organization wrote:

MSF is disgusted by the recent statements coming from some Afghanistan government authorities justifying the attack on its hospital in Kunduz. These statements imply that Afghan and US forces working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital with more than 180 staff and patients inside because they claim that members of the Taliban were present.

This amounts to an admission of a war crime. This utterly contradicts the initial attempts of the US government to minimize the attack as “collateral damage.”

There can be no justification for this abhorrent attack on our hospital that resulted in the deaths of MSF staff as they worked and patients as they lay in their beds. MSF reiterates its demand for a full transparent and independent international investigation.

MSF also made it clear that its hospital “is the only facility of its kind in the whole northeastern region of Afghanistan,” and that its “doctors treat all people according to their medical needs and do not make distinctions based on a patient’s ethnicity, religious beliefs or political affiliation.”

Despite MSF’s explicit denial of the allegations, US media continued to reiterate the claims of US and Afghan government officials.

Anonymous US military officials told Fox News (10/3/15) they “regret the loss” of scores of innocent lives, but “say the incident could have been avoided if the Taliban had not used the hospital as a base, and the civilians there as human shields.”

But wait, which was it? Was the bombing an accidental incident of “collateral damage,” as the government claimed at first, and as the media reverberated? Or was it a deliberate attack on the Taliban, who were supposedly firing from the hospital? It can’t be both; the two explanations contradict each other.

The fact that, when MSF’s points—and not just those of the US and Afghan governments—are considered, the human shields argument does not withstand close scrutiny aside, a blatant contradiction emerges in this narrative. The answer to this critical question remains unknown; the government, and the media that so obediently echoes it, do not clarify.

MSF's Kunduz hospital on fire, after being bombed by the US/NATO Photo: MSF

Striking, too, are the similarities to US reporting on Israeli airstrikes. In order to justify bombing hospitals in Gaza, the US-backed Israeli government often claims Palestinian militants use the medical facilities as bases. Israel’s military—which has itself used human shields many times—then says it is justified to bomb hospitals, UN shelters and other civilians areas.

US ally and NATO member Turkey borrowed Israel’s hasbara (public relations) tactic and claimed the same about leftist Kurdish militants in order to justify its killing of Kurdish civilians.

The Wall Street Journal (10/4/15) boldly steered clear of any posturing and openly justified the US bombing of the hospital. The unsigned editorial justified the mass killing of MSF aid workers by shifting the blame onto the Taliban insurgents. It even brought up the specter of Hamas, writing, “Like Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the terrorists hide near civilians. These Taliban tactics put the medical personnel and patients at risk.” The piece waxes poetic, and hagiographic; in a moment of undiluted American exceptionalism on blast, the Journal claimed that “no force in the history of warfare has done more to avoid civilian casualties than the American military.”

Remove references to the US and the Taliban in such media coverage, replace it with blanks, and you have a template media can use any time a US ally bombs civilians—A Guide to Defending War Crimes Committed by US Allies: “[Ally] did not actually want to bomb [civilian area], but [enemy] forced it to.”

Double Standards

When US enemies like Russia carry out airstrikes, all nuance is thrown out the window; US media drop their standards and gleefully accuse the enemies of war crimes. Yet when the US and NATO carry out airstrikes, journalists suddenly have a newfound skepticism. Their language immediately becomes ambiguous, their writing unclear; murky passages written in the passive voice are ubiquitous.

Official international bodies have not minced words about the bombing, nevertheless. The UN says the US attack on the Kunduz hospital was “inexcusable and possibly even criminal” (Australia’s ABC, 10/4/15). UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein remarked, “If established as deliberate in a court of law, an airstrike on a hospital may amount to a war crime.”

Wounded MSF staff after the US/NATO bombing of its Kunduz hospital Photo: MSF

MSF said the attack “constitutes a grave violation of international humanitarian law.” The aid group called the bombing a “war crime” and “a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law.”

The humanitarian organization is demanding an investigation “by an independent international body,” not by the US, noting that “relying only on an internal investigation by a party to the conflict would be wholly insufficient.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald (Intercept, 10/3/15) pointed out the hypocrisy of the US warning about civilian casualties of Russian airstrikes while it bombs scores of doctors and patients in Afghanistan, a country it has militarily occupied for close to 15 years.

When Russia denies killing civilians in its airstrikes on Syria, US media are suddenly skeptical and thorough; yet when the US government makes the same claims, journalists just recycle its press releases.

Is the job of the media to just uncritically report what favored governments say? Or is it supposed to examine the truth of official claims? If it is supposed to be the latter, US media have abysmally failed in their duties in reporting on the US bombing of MSF’s Kunduz hospital.

Ben Norton is a freelance journalist and writer. His website can be found at BenNorton.com and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

Consortium News

Seen through a night-vision device, U.S. Marines conduct a combat logistics patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan, April 21, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Anthony L. Ortiz)

The apparent U.S. slaughter of at least 22 people at an Afghan hospital, including Doctors Without Borders medical staff, is part of the grim reality of indiscriminate death when U.S. Special Forces undertake their secret raids and often toss aside the rules of warfare, reports Nicolas J S Davies.

By Nicolas J S Davies

On Dec. 26, 2009, a U.S. Special Operations team flew from Kabul to Ghazi Khan village in the Narang district of Kunar province. They attacked three houses, where they killed two adults and eight children. Seven of the children were handcuffed before they were shot. The youngest was 11 or 12, three more were 12, and one was 15. Both the United Nations and the Afghan government conducted investigations and confirmed all the details of the attack.

U.S. officials conducted their own inquiry, but no report was published and no U.S. military or civilian officials were held accountable. Finally, more than five years later, a New York Times report on Joint Special Operations Command’s (JSOC) Seal Team 6 named it as the U.S. force involved. But JSOC operations are officially secret and, to all practical purposes, immune from accountability. As a senior U.S. officer told the Times, “JSOC investigates JSOC, that’s part of the problem.”

Accountability for the U.S. attack on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz on Saturday, killing at least 22 people, is likely to be just as elusive. The bilateral security agreement that President Karzai refused to sign, but which President Ghani signed in September 2014, provides total immunity from Afghan law for U.S. forces and officials. So whoever should be held legally responsible for the massacre at the hospital will only be subject to accountability under U.S. military and civilian legal systems, which routinely fail to prosecute anyone for similar war crimes.


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Doctors Without Borders pulls out of Kunduz after apparent U.S. airstrike

Humanitarian group calls bombing that killed 22 a war crime

CBC News Posted: Oct 04, 2015 9:29 AM ETLast Updated: Oct 05, 2015 8:50 AM ET

  • A hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières in the Afghan city of Kunduz is seen in flames, after explosions in the city on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015.
  • A hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières in the Afghan city of Kunduz is seen in flames, after explosions in the city on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. (Médecins Sans Frontières/AP)

The international humanitarian group Médecins Sans Frontières said Sunday it had withdrawn from the northern Afghan city of Kunduz after a deadly airstrike destroyed its hospital and killed 22 people.

The humanitarian crisis in the city, which briefly fell to the Taliban last week before the government launched a counteroffensive, has grown increasingly dire, with shops shuttered because of ongoing fighting and roads made impassable by mines planted by insurgents.

The medical group, also known by its English name Doctors Without Borders, blames the 22 deaths on a U.S. airstrike. Afghan officials said helicopter gunships were returning fire from Taliban fighters who were hiding in the hospital.

But the organization is calling the bombing a war crime, with the executive director of its Canadian division telling CBC News that staff contacted both the U.S. and Afghan forces throughout, but the airstrike continued for another 35 minutes.

“Such attacks against medical facilities are grave breaches of humanitarian law,” Stephen Cornish told CBC News on Sunday. “At the time of this attack our surgery team were operating on a patient on the operating table who [then] died on that operating table.


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 photo FamilySurvivalProtocolColliseumBannergrayscale900x338_zpsb17c85d0.jpg



Fires burn in part of the MSF hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz after it was hit by an air strike on October 3, 2015 © MSF

Yves Daccord Retweeted MSF International

Tragic news. please accept our condolences for the killing of your colleagues & patients in .

Yves Daccord added,


  • 19:56 GMT

    The World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement extending condolences to the families and colleges of those killed and injured in the bombing.


WHO once again urges all parties in the conflict to respect the safety and neutrality of health workers & health facilities

WHO calls on all govts & military officers to observe their obligations under intl law, ensure protection of health serv in conflict

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Hunger and desperation as Afghan mudslide survivors wait for food

Mudslide survivors

Mudslide survivors in Argu village, Afghanistan. Photograph: Nasir Waqif/EPA

Lailema’s soft wailing filters through the canvas of her tent, a 12-year-old’s hopeless lament for her mother and a life that is gone forever. Her three younger siblings play on the dusty floor as her grandmother cries silently nearby and her uncle wonders how to feed his new dependents.

None of them have eaten since the landslide in the village of Aab Barik – in the north-eastern province of Badakshan – that took away their home and six relatives two days earlier, despite trucks full of food aid parked just a few metres away. No one has distributed the bags of rice, oil and other necessities, they say.

“They promised that they would hand them out after the government officials leave today,” said Khan Baay, the uncle, who was heading out to hear the vice-president, Yunus Qanuni, lead prayers for the dead and promise survivors whatever help they need, backed by a delegation of ministers, members of parliament and European ambassadors.

But many on the ground were less interested in pledges from dignitaries helicoptered in to survey the damage than getting their hands on something edible. “I am so hungry I could scratch your eyes out,” said Bibi Jaahan, a grandmother in her early 60s who lost her home and several relatives to the mud. “I haven’t eaten for over two days.”

Sharing her tent is Zaina, breastfeeding her 11-month-old son but worried that her milk is drying up, as he grumbles then starts crying. She has only scavenged a few biscuits to feed him, and knows he needs more solid food.

The Afghan Red Crescent was quick to hand out tents to those who lost their homes in last Friday’s devastating mudslide, and in the corner of newly motherless Lailema’s cramped new home, barely two metres wide and perhaps three times as long, there are new plates and tea cups but nothing to eat off them.

They were part of their package of “non-food items”, explains Ahmad, an official from the charity who stops by to check on the family. “We started handing out tents on Friday, but other organisations are responsible for food. We cannot provide everything ourselves.”


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5 May 02 2014 03:32 PM Landslide Afghanistan Province of Badakhshan, [Argu district] Damage level Details



Landslide in Afghanistan on Friday, 02 May, 2014 at 15:32 (03:32 PM) UTC.

Around 250 people were feared dead following a landslide in northeastern Badakhshan province of Afghanistan. According to local government officials, the incident took place in Argu district and dozens of others have been trapped under the rocks. A local official in Badakhshan province said around around 250 people have been killed following the landslide while 200 houses and dozens of more people were trapped following the rockslide. Provincial police chief, Fazluddin Ayar confirmed that over 250 people were trapped following a landslide in Aab Khoshk village. Mr. Ayar further added that the incident took place around 12:00 pm local time and Afghan secuirty forces and rescue teams have been deployed to the area to assist the local residents. This comes as deputy Afghan interior minister Gen. Ayub Salangi earlier said around 200 houses were affected following the rockslide. Gen. Salangi had said preliminary reports suggest that the casualties due to the rockslide is around 200 people.



Landslide in Afghanistan on Friday, 02 May, 2014 at 15:32 (03:32 PM) UTC.


Updated: Friday, 02 May, 2014 at 16:13 UTC
A landslide triggered by heavy rains buried a village Friday in northeastern Afghanistan, leaving as many as 2,000 people missing, a top official said. Badakshan province Gov. Shah Waliullah Adeeb said more than 2,000 people were missing after a hill collapsed on the village of Hobo Barik. Adeeb said the landslide buried some 300 homes in the area – about a third of all houses there. The governor said rescue crews were working but didn’t have enough equipment, appealing for shovels. “It’s physically impossible right now,” Adeeb said. “We don’t have enough shovels; we need more machinery.” He said authorities evacuated a nearby village over concerns about further landslides. Faziluddin Hayar, the police chief in Badakshan province, said the landslide happened about 1 p.m. Friday. Badakshan province, nestled in the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges and bordering China, is one of the most remote in the country. The area has seen few attacks from insurgents following the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.



Landslide in Afghanistan on Friday, 02 May, 2014 at 15:32 (03:32 PM) UTC.


Updated: Saturday, 03 May, 2014 at 04:09 UTC
A landslide triggered by heavy rain buried large sections of a northeastern Afghan village Friday, killing at least 350 people and leaving up to 2,500 missing. Villagers looked on helplessly and the governor appealed for shovels to help dig through the mass of mud that flattened every home in its path. The mountainous area in Badakhshan province has experienced days of heavy rain and flooding, and the side of a cliff collapsed onto the village of Hobo Barik at midday, burying it under up to 60 feet of mud and rocks, officials said. Landslides and avalanches are frequent in Afghanistan, but Friday’s was one of the deadliest. It was one of the worst natural disasters in recent memory in Afghanistan, where spring rainfall and snowmelt make the mountainous northeast susceptible to flash floods and mudslides. U.N. officials said more Afghans had been killed in natural disasters in the past seven days than in all of 2013. Gov. Shah Waliullah Adeeb said up to 2,500 people were missing after the landslide buried some 300 homes, about one-third of all the houses in the area. At least 350 people were confirmed dead, according to Ari Gaitanis, a spokesman from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. He said the U.N. was working with authorities to rescue trapped people.

The governor said rescue crews were working, but didn’t have enough equipment. “It’s physically impossible right now,” Adeeb said. “We don’t have enough shovels; we need more machinery.” The Badakhshan provincial police chief, Maj. Gen. Faziluddin Hayar, said rescue workers had pulled seven survivors and three bodies from the mounds of mud and earth, but held out little hope that more survivors would be found. “Now we can only help the displaced people. Those trapped under the landslide and who have lost lives, it is impossible to do anything for them,” Hayar said. Video footage showed that a large section of the mountain collapsed, sending mud and earth tumbling onto the village below. The landslide was likely caused by heavy rain, said Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, the province’s director for the National Disaster Department. He said the landslide happened about 1 p.m. Friday, a day of worship in Afghanistan when many families would have been at home instead of at work. President Obama said the United States was ready to assist. “I want to say on behalf of the American people that our thoughts are with the people of Afghanistan, who have experienced an awful tragedy,” he said at the White House during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. U.N. humanitarian officials said some areas remained difficult to reach, making the scale of the damage unclear. Officials fear more landslides are possible because of more rain and melting snow. About 700 families living on a hillside near Aab Barik were told to move to higher ground and wait for emergency aid to reach them, Adeeb said.



Landslide in Afghanistan on Friday, 02 May, 2014 at 15:32 (03:32 PM) UTC.


Updated: Saturday, 03 May, 2014 at 05:22 UTC
About 2,250 people are feared dead after a mudslide Friday buried an Afghan village in the far-north-eastern province of Badakhshan, a spokesman for the provincial governor said. More than 300 houses in Ab-e-Barik were swept away in the mudslide, which occurred after heavy rainfall, Naveed Ferotan said. “Our rescue teams have so far found 150 bodies in the area, and they are working hard to save the villagers,” he said. About 2,100 other people are missing and also feared dead, officials said. The mudslide first struck a wedding party, killing 250 people, and then buried nearly all of the village as well as farmland, said Haji Abdul Wadood Saeedi, governor of the Argu district, where Ab-e-Barik is located. About 300 families are missing, he said. The ground is still unstable, and people in nearby villages are scared they could also become victims, Saeedi said. Rescue teams were dispatched to the area and at least 1,500 people have been evacuated from Ab-e-Barik so far, Saeedi said. The United Nations said 700 families lived in Ab-e-Barik and at least 120 houses were destroyed. “Reportedly, 350 people have died and 580 families are at severe risk of further landslides,” said Ari Gaitanis, a UN spokesman in Kabul. “The village is flooded, and a drainage channel must be opened to prevent further destruction,” he said. The national government and United Nations planned their own rescue and aid response.



Landslide in Afghanistan on Friday, 02 May, 2014 at 15:32 (03:32 PM) UTC.


Updated: Saturday, 03 May, 2014 at 14:26 UTC
At least 300 families have been burried under a hill that collapsed in a remote mountain village in northeast Afghanistan on Friday. The confirmed death count at present is 2,100, and is expected to rise in the coming days. “More then 2,100 people from 300 families are all dead,” Naweed Forotan, a spokesman for the Badakhshan provincial governorsaid. The United Nations said the focus was now on the more than 4,000 displaced by Friday’s disaster. There is a risk of further landslides in the area, officials said.



Landslide in Afghanistan on Friday, 02 May, 2014 at 15:32 (03:32 PM) UTC.


Updated: Sunday, 04 May, 2014 at 15:23 UTC
The Afghan government officially named the scene hit by a massive landslide in Badakhshan province as a mass grave and started focusing on helping the survivors on Sunday. “The religious scholars and high level officials has convinced the locals to give up looking for dead bodies,” Haji Abdul Wadoud, governor of Argo district in Badakhshan told Anadolu Agency. “It is almost impossible to search for dead bodies,” he said. “When muslims die, they must be buried, and they are already under a huge hill of mud.” The first Vice President Mohammad Younus Qanooni also visited the area on Sunday along with some cabinet members and religious authorities. “All agreed that it would be named as the mass grave of Abe Barik martyrs,” Abdul Wadoud said. Early Friday afternoon, a massive landslide triggered by heavy rainfall engulfed the village of Abe Barik in northern Badakhshan province of Afghanistan. At least 300 families have been trapped under dirt and mud, whereas only 255 of the dead bodies have been identified so far, but the local authorities estimate that more than 2,100 people are dead. Heavy rains in the last few weeks have also caused flash floods in different parts of the country, taking dozens of lives and damaging hundreds of houses. Turkey’s IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation has delivered humanitarian aid to 350 families hit by Friday’s landslide disaster in Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan. “Emergency packages were prepared for 350 families in the first stage of the aid campaign,” Orhan Sefik, Central Asia regional coordinator of the foundation, told Anadolu Agency. He said the packages contained food, rugs, blankets and kitchen utensils, adding that the foundation would continue to provide aid to the area. Earlier, Noor Mohammad Khawari, head of the Badakhshan central hospital told Anadolu Agency that it would be tragic if the locals agreed to the village becoming a mass grave although he said it would require an extraordinary effort driving by a big number of professionals and machinery to find the buried individuals. “Now they are discussing securing the scene from the threat of floods so that members of the victim families can come here to prayer” Khawari added. In a statement released from his office late Saturday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he was deeply saddened after hearing the news of the landslide. The Afghan government has also announced a day of national mourning in the country.



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Afghan official says 2,000 missing after landslide

Associated Press

Map locates Badakhshan, Afghanistan; 1c x 3 inches; 46.5 mm x 76 mm;


View photo

Map locates Badakhshan, Afghanistan.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A landslide triggered by heavy rains buried a village Friday in northeastern Afghanistan, leaving as many as 2,000 people missing, a top official said.

Badakhshan province Gov. Shah Waliullah Adeeb said more than 2,000 people were missing after a hill collapsed on the village of Hobo Barik. Adeeb said the landslide buried some 300 homes in the area — about a third of all houses there.

The governor said rescue crews were working but didn’t have enough equipment, appealing for shovels.

“It’s physically impossible right now,” Adeeb said. “We don’t have enough shovels; we need more machinery.”

He said authorities evacuated a nearby village over concerns about further landslides.


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Earth Watch Report  –  Flooding

Afghans affected by flash floods search their belonging from flood water in Sheberghan, Afghanistan. Photograph: Sayed Mustafa/EPAAfghans affected by flash floods search their belonging from flood water in Sheberghan, Afghanistan. Photograph: Sayed Mustafa/EPAFloods in Afghanistan leave more than 100 dead



Flood Afghanistan Province of Jowzjan, [Northern and western regions] Damage level Details




Flood in Afghanistan on Friday, 25 April, 2014 at 15:33 (03:33 PM) UTC.

At least 58 people have been killed and hundreds of villagers left stranded in devastating flash floods in northern Afghanistan, officials say. The governor of Jowzjan province warned that the number of victims was likely to rise. People have been left trapped on the roofs of their homes and rescue helicopters have been deployed. There are reports of flooding in other provinces in the north and west. “Thousands of homes have been destroyed and thousands are suffering”, Jowzjan’s governor Boymurod Qoyinli said. He said that more than 80 people are missing and that 3,000 homes have been destroyed. BBC Uzbek’s Navid Nazari, reporting from the flood-hit areas, was told by one woman that she was taken by surprise by the flash flood just after reading evening prayers. She lost two of her children. Heavy rain and storms on Thursday night created a perilous situation for villagers whose homes are largely built out of mud. Three remote districts in the province were particularly badly affected, the governor said. Our correspondent travelled on board one of the rescue helicopters deployed by the security forces. He described a landscape where dozens of homes had been destroyed, many more submerged and villagers crouched on the roofs of their homes.



Flood in Afghanistan on Friday, 25 April, 2014 at 15:33 (03:33 PM) UTC.


Updated: Friday, 25 April, 2014 at 17:35 UTC
More than 100 people have been killed and thousands left homeless by flash floods in north and west Afghanistan, officials said on Friday, prompting desperate pleas for help from the impoverished provincial authorities. Thousands of homes have been engulfed by flood waters in four provinces after three days of heavy rain in what is traditionally a wet period at the start of spring. In the northern province of Jawzjan, police chief Faqer Mohammad Jawzjani said 55 bodies had been recovered, and that the number of dead would increase over the coming days. “Providing aid or help from the ground is impossible,” he said. “We have carried 1,500 people to safe areas of neighbouring districts by helicopter. We need emergency assistance from the central government and aid agencies.” The governor of neighbouring Faryab province said 33 people had died there and another 80 were missing. “Ten thousand families have been affected and more then 2,000 houses have been destroyed,” Mohammadullah Batazhn said. Another 13 people were killed in the provinces of Badghis and Sar-e Pol, local officials said.



Flood in Afghanistan on Friday, 25 April, 2014 at 15:33 (03:33 PM) UTC.


Updated: Sunday, 27 April, 2014 at 04:49 UTC
The National Disaster Management Authority said on Saturday that 58 people were killed in Jowzjan province, 32 in Faryab, six in Sar-e-Pul and six others in Badghis. After days of torrential rain, floodwaters swept through villages, engulfing thousands of houses and leaving many people seeking safety on the roofs of their mud-brick houses. Officials in Faryab province said nearly 2000 houses were washed away and more than 8000 cattle were killed. Flooding often occurs during the spring rainy season in northern Afghanistan. Two weeks ago, a landslide triggered by heavy rains and a small earthquake swept through two villages in Takhar, another northern province, killing four people and destroying around 100 houses. Forty people died in August in flash floods in eastern and southeastern provinces and some parts of Kabul.



Flood in Afghanistan on Friday, 25 April, 2014 at 15:33 (03:33 PM) UTC.


Updated: Sunday, 27 April, 2014 at 11:08 UTC
Flash floods in Northern Afghanistan have killed more than 180 people and displaced thousands after days of torrential rain, officials say. Authorities in one of the country’s hardest hit regions of Jawzjan said, the death toll was expected to rise further. “Rescue helicopters have evacuated some 200 people, but many people are still trapped on roofs of their homes and some are also missing,” Jawzjan provincial police chief Faqir Mohammad Jowzjani said. The head of the disaster relief committee in Jawzjan province, said more than 5,000 people had been displaced and there was shortage of medicine and water, after heavy rain and storms swept through two districts of the region on Thursday night. Mohammadullah Batash, the governor of Faryab, said the death toll in his province, which borders Turkmenistan, was expected to rise. The Afghan government has been scrambling to help survivors and search for stranded villagers by deploying army helicopters to reach affected areas. The floodwaters swept through villages and fields, engulfing thousands of homes and leaving many people seeking safety on the roofs of their mud-brick houses. Flooding often occurs during the spring rainy season in northern Afghanistan, with flimsy mud houses offering little protection against rising water level.



Death toll in northern Afghanistan floods tops 100, officials say

Updated Sun 27 Apr 2014, 1:36pm AEST

The death toll from flash floods in northern Afghanistan has risen to more than 100 with many others still missing, officials say.

The national disaster management authority said that 58 people were killed in Jowzjan province, 32 in Faryab, six in Sar-e-Pul and six others in Badghis as floods struck a large swath of rural communities.

“Unfortunately, we have over 100 people killed and dozens of others missing due to flash floods in four northern provinces,” said Mohammad Sadeq Sediqqi, from the national disaster management authority.

OCHA, the United Nations humanitarian affairs office, said it had reports from provincial officials of 123 people killed, with Jowzjan province alone suffering 80 deaths and 6,000 displaced people.

It said clean water, medical supplies, food and shelter were needed immediately as relief efforts got under way after days of torrential rain.

The floodwaters swept through villages, engulfing thousands of homes and leaving many people seeking safety on the roofs of their mud-brick houses.

The Afghan defence ministry sent two helicopters to Jowzjan, where the aircraft rescued more than 1,000 people and carried them to higher ground.


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What Germany Left Behind: A Feeling of Abandonment in North Afghanistan

By Nicola Abé

Photo Gallery: An Empty Base in Afghanistan Photos
Joel van Houdt/ DER SPIEGEL

Six months ago, Germany’s military withdrew from Kunduz in northern Afghanistan. Since then, regional security has eroded and many of those left behind feel abandoned. Some say that the departure came too soon.

Captain Faridoon Hakimi is sitting next to an enormous barbecue once used by the Germans to grill sausage, munching on an almond and squinting. There isn’t a cloud in the sky and the midday sun is blazing down onto the former German military camp in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan. Next to him stands a solitary sign in the German language indicating the location of a certain “Büro Baumlade.”

It has been six months since Hakimi’s friends and allies from Germany left the camp. All of the parking slots for helicopters and armored vehicles are empty. The white blimp, which once held cameras aloft in order to monitor the camp’s immediate surroundings, no longer floats in the sky above.”We don’t need reconnaissance,” says Hakimi, 32, the new camp commander who oversees the Afghan National Army troops stationed there. “We have our eyes.” The blimp, he says smiling, was a waste of money anyway. Hakimi wears a carefully trimmed beard — and rubber sandals.

His eyes shift to the horizon where the mountains are slowly turning green, indicating spring’s approach. Hakimi knows that the green also means the Taliban will soon be back.

For 10 years, Germany was responsible for the province of Kunduz as part of its role in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). It was the first real war the Bundeswehr, as Germany’s military is known, participated in, and Berlin’s aims were lofty indeed. German development experts were to help extend rights to women, democracy was to be fostered and the economy was to grow significantly. Billions of euros were made available — and the blood of German soldiers was spilled. Kunduz was a place of great sacrifice.

Until Oct. 6, 2013. On that day, Germany handed over the camp to Afghanistan.

‘Too Soon’

“They ran away,” croaks the deputy police chief for the Kunduz province in his office and gestures dismissively. “They simply ran away. It was too soon.”

“It was too soon. It was like an escape.” One can hear almost exactly the same thing from the mouths of German soldiers, some of whom even compare the Bundeswehr’s departure with that of the Americans from Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. “If there is one thing the Bundeswehr is really good at, it’s retreating,” is a sentiment that can often be heard in the government quarter in Berlin these days.

What, though, did the Germans really manage to accomplish in Kunduz and what did the 25 Germans killed in the region die for? What did all the money buy? What remains of the mission? Berlin would rather not provide an answer to these questions: A complete evaluation of the Afghanistan engagement is not on the agenda.

But there are answers to be found in the Kunduz Province itself. The closer one gets to the former German camp, the emptier the roads become. There are no trees to block one’s view of the far-away horizon; occasionally, a burned out car or oil drum lies on the shoulder of the road. The pizza delivery service once patronized by the Germans has closed its doors. A few uniformed soldiers are rolling out barbed wire at the camp’s entrance. “We are here to guard the buildings,” says Said Muyer, 25, of the Afghan police. He says he is essentially in charge, adding that the real commander hardly ever makes an appearance.

The road passes by empty guard houses and torn open sandbags on the way into a ghost town of broad roads, vacant barracks and open ground where helicopters once took off and landed. It seems like a settlement of aliens who stayed for a time but then left after realizing that the planet was inhospitable — despite the fitness studios, bars and the big German barbecue.

Some 2,000 soldiers were once stationed in the camp, but there are few relics of their presence among the ruins: an aluminum can that once contained processed meat, packages of “Exotic” drink mix and a few slices of whole-grain bread.

“They only left garbage behind,” says Muyer, kicking a container of potato goulash. “We don’t eat stuff like that.” He rattles the door leading into the mess hall, inside of which the tables and chairs are neatly stacked. “Everything is locked up,” he says. Muyer says that the refrigerators were already gone by the time he arrived, sold in the town market.


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Milwaukee Business Journal  

Apr 10, 2014, 2:40pm CDT Updated: Apr 10, 2014, 3:03pm CDT

Oshkosh Corp. to slash 760 defense unit jobs


Enlarge Photo

Specialty truck manufacturer Oshkosh Corp. makes all-terrain trucks for the U.S. military.

Reporter- Milwaukee Business Journal

Oshkosh Corp. announced it would lay off 700 hourly positions starting in June and 60 salaried jobs by July in its defense segment.

Most of the salaried positions are temporary employees and people who are retiring. Following the cuts, Oshkosh Defense will have about 1,850 employees. The cuts reflect the reduction in defense spending by the U.S., which is returning to peacetime operations, said John Urias, executive vice president and president of Oshkosh Defense.

“We have gone to great lengths to minimize and delay the impact of the reduced spending on our Defense workforce,” Urias said. “We explored and implemented a range of alternatives from not filling open positions to bringing in outside contracted work as promised in earlier discussions with the UAW, which represents our production employees, as well as continuing to pursue relevant international opportunities.”


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NBC15 WMTV | Madison, WI | News, Weather, Sports

Wis.-Based Oshkosh to Lay Off 900 this Summer

Posted Tuesday, April 9, 2013 — 1:40 p.m.

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — Defense contractor Oshkosh Corp. plans to lay off 900 people this summer as military vehicle orders decline.

The Oshkosh-based company says it will begin laying off 700 hourly employees in mid-June, with 200 salaried employees to be laid off by the end of July.

Company leaders say production is declining as the military continues to wind down from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


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Crain's Detroit Business

General Dynamics, Oshkosh land $120 million in vehicle and parts contracts

 Originally Published: April 01, 2014 3:17 PM  Modified: April 03, 2014 11:09 AM

Two defense ground vehicle manufacturers with a Michigan footprint have received production awards worth more than $120 million combined, to build several hundred new vehicles or vehicle components by late 2015.

Sterling Heights-based General Dynamics Land Systems reported today it has received a $74.7 million contract from the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va. for “egress upgrade kits” to improve its fleet of Cougar infantry vehicles.

The company’s Force Protection subsidiary, created when GDLS acquired Ladson, S.C.-based Force Protection Inc. in 2011, will develop and produce 916 egress kits for the Cougar by September 2015 under that contract.


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‘Not bug splats’: Artists use poster-child in Pakistan drone protest

Published time: April 07, 2014 13:29

Image from notabugsplat.com

Image from notabugsplat.com

A poster of a young child has appeared in north-west Pakistan to raise awareness of the numerous drone attacks the region suffered. Artists who created the image hope military commanders will think twice about shooting after seeing the portrait.

More than 200 children are believed to have died in the heavily-bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa according to the website notabugsplat.com. ‘Bug splat’ is the name given by the military to a person who has been killed by a drone. Viewing the body through a grainy computer image gives the impression that an insect has been crushed.

Now a giant portrait of a young child has been produced to try and raise awareness of civilian casualties in the region. The hope is now the drone operator will see a child’s face on his or her computer screen, rather than just a small white dot and may think twice before attacking indiscriminately.

The child featured in the poster is nameless, but according to the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, who helped to launch the project in collaboration with a number of artists, both parents were lost to a drone attack.

Drone raids in Pakistan started in 2004 under George W. Bush’s administration as part of the US War on Terror. The vast majority of strikes have focused on the Federally Administered Tribal Area’s and the Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa area due to their proximity to Afghanistan, which the country invaded following the September 11 terrorist attacks.


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Vets, Docs Worry Fort Hood Shootings Will Deepen PTSD Stigma

The word “PTSD” had barely left the mouth of Fort Hood’s commander late Wednesday when, across the nation, many veterans with those symptoms and doctors who treat the malady understood they faced a renewed battle: a resurgence of the stigma that comes with that diagnosis.

The Fort Hood tragedy –- 16 wounded and four killed, including identified shooter Ivan Lopez, a soldier being evaluated for PTSD –- is precisely the type of event that makes combat veterans cringe. Many worry they’ll be further mislabeled as dangerous time bombs, as the next to snap, and that post-traumatic stress will again be misrepresented and misunderstood as a condition that sparks public, violent outbursts.

“That is not what post-traumatic stress is or what it does,” said Ingrid Herrera-Yee, a clinical psychologist in the Washington, D.C. area who treats veterans diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health issues as well as their family members and civilians. Her husband, Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Ian Yee, spent three combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Yes, there is anger and irritability (associated with PTSD), but it’s usually internalized. You’re more likely to see it as someone who is withdrawn, anxious and numb, who’s lost interest in life. Some veterans explain it to me this way: ‘The last thing you want is to go out and lash out,” said Herrera-Yee, adding: “Just like any victims of a trauma –- rape or domestic violence -– they can become fearful of their surroundings, but they’re not going to react angrily toward their surroundings. For them, it’s all about avoidance.”

“You’re more likely to see it as someone who is withdrawn, anxious and numb, who’s lost interest in life. Some veterans explain it to me this way: ‘The last thing you want is to go out and lash out.'”

For years, Pentagon brass and branch commanders have urged troops and veterans to seek mental-health help if they feel the need, while repeating the message that, if they do see a doctor, they will not be viewed as weak but as strong. That campaign seems to have finally dented the macho-military mantra that every soldier can handle his or her own business. Many veterans are turning to doctors to begin addressing post-service anxiety issues, often fueled by repeated or long deployments.

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