“'This wasn’t collateral damage. It was human sacrifice by the Taliban. Deliberate civilian murder.'... If not enough women and children were killed, the Taliban made plans to use grenades to ensure an international outcry over civilian deaths."
"B-1 Video Shows Taliban ‘Human Sacrifice,’ Military Claims," by Noah Shachtman for Danger Room, May 29:
Earlier this month, a series of American airstrikes on a village in western Afghanistan killed dozens and dozens of people — including at least 25 civilians. Now, U.S. forces are weighing the release of a classified video, taken from a B-1 bomber involved in the battle. The military is convinced that the footage will justify American troops’ actions during the firefight — and show that the Taliban committed “human sacrifice” in the village of Garani. Human rights groups say the video may only reinforce just how questionable those airstrikes really were.
“There is indeed video from a B-1 bomber,” U.S. Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus tells National Public Radio. “What it will prove is that the targets of these different strikes were the Taliban.”
A B-1 bomber, flying far overhead, dropped four one-ton munitions onto a pair of large mud-brick compounds. Villagers say more than 160 civilians, mainly women and children, had taken shelter inside the buildings, which were near a mosque and residential compounds. According to the military, observation from forces on the ground and the video from the B-1’s weapons sight show that the buildings were on the outskirts of the village, and packed with Taliban. The video shows two groups of fully-grown adults going inside the compounds. Radio traffic confirmed the the insurgents’ presence. Additional footage shows women and children streaming into other buildings that were not bombed, the military says.
The U.S. also claims it has intelligence showing that the “Taliban’s deliberate planning to create a civilian casualty disaster for us,” Lt. Commander Christine Sidenstricker, a spokesperson for U.S. Forces Afghanistan, tells Danger Room. The militants planned to draw U.S. fire onto buildings crammed with innocents, she says. If not enough women and children were killed, the Taliban made plans to use grenades to ensure an international outcry over civilian deaths. American intelligence also shows Taliban fighters congratulating themselves on forcing survivors to lie to doctors — and on taking American compensation money meant for the victim’s families, Sidenstricker adds. “This wasn’t collateral damage. It was human sacrifice by the Taliban. Deliberate civilian murder.”...