On Sunday 07/06/2008 at least 20 people have been killed in a missile strike by coalition forces in Afghan’s Eastern Nangarhar province. Local people claimed that the group was a wedding party and that most of the dead were women and children. As in previous cases the USA army has denied this, saying those killed were militants involved in previous mortar attacks on a NATO-ISAF base. The attack came just two days after a similar attack in Nuristan province allegedly claimed also civilian life.(See – Nuristan 07.04.08 )

Although it seems that those events have two versions: the version of the locals against the USA army version, in reality both sides are telling the truth since in this type of war fought in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Palestinian territories it is almost impossible to distinguish between the civilians and the warriors.

Everybody in Iraq, Afghanistan and large parts of Pakistan is armed and belongs to some sort of fighting militia, whether it is a drug or crime gang, a militant militia or a pro-government militia such as the Awakening councils in Iraq. Every body uses to switch sides from time to time for money or other interests, every body has old scores to settle down and every body uses its weapons to settle those scores.

The Taliban, the Iraqi Insurgence or the Palestinian factions are often ordinary civilians most of the time, completely merged in the local society. Once in a while they use to take out the weapon from the cellar or the cache, to use it for whatever the reason is, and to return to civilian life in an instant. Often, especially in the Palestinian territories, after launching a Qassam rocket toward Israel, Palestinian guerillas deliberately found shelter among women, children or any other civilian activity such as parties.

In the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan or the Palestinian territories there is not a clear definition who is a warrior and who is an innocent citizen. Although it is fully clear that children are, by all means, innocent they are often used to shelter and protect the non innocents.

Although USA in Iraq, NATO-ISAF in Afghanistan or the Israeli army in the Palestinian territories are doing the outmost to spare the life of innocents the outcome is always insufficient. There is no way to fully avoid mistakes, deliberate provocations or fully distinguish fighters from civilians. As long as those wars will go on there is no way to fully prevent the tragedies of civilian innocent casualties.


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