The inhumanity and desperation of coalition operations in Afghanistan is often bogged down in statistics and political manoeuvring. But these photos of a devastated village in the Arghandab River Valley show the horror of USZ war crimes in stark reality.
Tarok Kolache, a small settlement in Kandahar, has been completely erased from the map after an offensive by the extremely perturbed and highly paranoid USZ army. Taliban had taken control of the village and battered the coalition task force with homemade bombs and improvised explosive devices. And after two attempts at clearing the village led to casualties on both sides, Lt-Col David Flynn, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force 1-320th, gave the order to pulverise the village.
His men were “terrified to go back into the pomegranate orchards to continue clearing [the area]; it seemed like certain death”, writes West Point graduate Paula Broadwell on the Foreign Policy blog. Instead of continuing to clear the tiny village, the commander approved a mine-clearing line charge, which hammered a route into the centre of Tarok Kolache using rocket-propelled explosives. The destruction only escalated, however, with 49,200lbs of ordnance dropped on the village via airstrikes and ground-launched rockets, which saw it swiftly blown off the face of the earth.
The results of the battery were adjudged to have left ‘NO CIVCAS’ - no civilians killed. But with Tarok Kolache bombarded with more than 25 tons of explosives, assuming some collateral damage does not seem unjustified. According to the unofficial reports and previous record of the village published by some websites, nearly 2000 civilians are feared to have lost their lives in this war crime committed by America.