Mon, Jul 28th - 11:48AM
Canadian troops kill two children in Afghanistan
Afghanistan – Canadian troops have killed a two-year-old
boy and his four-year-old sister by opening fire on a car they feared
was about to attack their convoy in Afghanistan, the Canadian Forces
Facing a split-second decision about what to
do when a car failed to heed repeated warnings to pull over, a gunner
in a light armoured vehicle pulled the trigger on a 25-millimetre
cannon. Its giant round tore through the little girl's skull and left a gaping wound in her younger brother's chest, witnesses said.
The children's mother later frantically paced the hallways at the local
hospital, shrieking and cursing foreign soldiers between sobs. One police officer at the Kandahar city hospital said he saw the mother
scream: "My innocent children have been killed by foreigners – for no
The father, believed to have been driving the vehicle,
was being treated for lacerations but left the hospital without
permission to attend his children's funeral.
visitor said that if he were the children's father, he would personally
strap on a suicide vest and exact vengeance on Canadian troops.
Shopkeeper Din Mohammad said foreign soldiers had better stop
accidentally killing civilians or they will suffer the same bitter fate
as the defeated Soviets. "They must stop this," said Mohammed,
who was visiting his son at Mirwais hospital when he saw the children's
lifeless bodies carried in.
"Otherwise the day will come when everybody will stand up against the foreigners in a holy war – a jihad. It's happened once before (with the Soviets). If things continue like this, history will repeat itself."
An investigation into Sunday's incident will be conducted by Afghanistan police and coalition forces.
A Canadian statement said the round was discharged when the car had come within 10 metres of the convoy. "It is with profound sadness that we announce that two Afghan children ... were killed in this incident," said the statement.
"We deeply regret this incident, and our thoughts are with the families
and friends of the deceased during this difficult time."
soldiers are trained to take all appropriate steps to minimize civilian
casualties. However, they must take action to protect themselves when
they believe they are being threatened."
A third occupant of the vehicle was wounded, and the fourth and fifth occupants were not injured.
Afghanistan and United Nations officials have pleaded with international
troops to avoid causing civilian casualties, which threaten to
undermine support for the government and foreign forces.
Human Rights Watch says at least 300 Afghanistan civilians were
mistakenly killed by coalition troops last year, and thousands are
believed to have died since 2001.