Still of dead bodies, Shorabak attack from Al Emarah Studio video
Islamic Emirate (Afghan Taliban) has released a video from Al Emarah Studio which claims to support an alleged incident of human rights abuses said to have occurred on 8th August 2015 where 13 members of one family were killed and another two detained during an attack on the Saman Karez village in Sarlat area, Shorabak district of Afghanistan.
The Long War Journal which states it is “dedicated to providing original and accurate reporting and analysis of the Long War (also known as the Global War on Terror)” portrayed the incident with the heading, “US military strikes Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan”. The publication cited a US military statement from Brigadier General Wilson Shoffner, a US military spokesman, who said the US and its ally had carried out “one of the largest joint ground-assault operations we have ever conducted in Afghanistan” with Long War Journal writing that “two camps were hit with 63 airstrikes, which provided cover for ground forces.”
Abdulqahar Balkhi a spokesperson affiliated with Islamic Emirate, protested the reporting from Long War Journal calling the attack “a crime”. He has long accused international human rights organizations of being selective in what they report and threw out a challenge to UNAMA (United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan) and Amnesty Online via Twitter, saying, “let’s see you have the courage to condemn this open crime…” posting the following comments on Twitter.
Release no. 55 by Al Emarah Studio HQ https://archive.org/download/GhorakHDFinal2/Ghorak%20HD%20Final-2.mp4 … Mobile Phone MP4 https://archive.org/download/Ghorak-mobileMp4/Formatfactoryghorak-mobileMp4.mp4 …
Includes documented footage of Shorabak crime >> http://shahamat-english.com/statement-by-commission-for-military-affairs-department-for-prevention-for-civilian-casualties-regarding-use-of-chemical-weapons-and-indiscriminate-civilian-casualties-caused-by-enemy-in-shorabak/ … <<
A crime dubbed by US &
@LongWarJournal as huge op. against Al Qaeda base http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/10/us-military-strikes-large-al-qaeda-training-camps-in-southern-afghanistan.php …
@UNAMA @amnestyonline let’s see you have the courage to condemn this open crime…
Al Emarah Studio. part of the Multimedia Branch of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s Cultural Commission presents its video release no. 55 (38 minutes long) and claims to show “documented proof of the massacre carried out a few weeks ago by American invading forces during a joint large-scale raid on Shorabak district.” This appears in section one of the video. Section two “shows footage of martyrdom seekers who carried out an operation on Quick Reaction Force base in Boldak district of Kandahar in revenge for the Shorabak massacre.” Section three is a seperate operation.
Here is the earlier statement from Islamic Emirate condemning the incident in Shorabak
“On the 8th of August of the ongoing year (2015) US forces accompanied by Commander Abdul Razziq, the head of border police forces and the current police chief of Kandahar, carried out a raid on Saman Karez village in Sarlat area of Shorabak district.
The American invading forces brutally targeted the home of Haji Abdul Ali Aka with the initiation of the operation, martyring 13 family members on the spot while injuring 2 women and 5 children before detaining and taking them to an undisclosed location.
The villagers, hearing about the raid and attack of the American invaders and militias of General Razziq, began fleeing their homes towards the nearby mountains. The civilians most of whom were women, children and the elderly and in spite of the fact that the savage enemy saw that most were women and children, they brutally targeted them with helicopters and martyred 21. The names and details of the innocent civilians are as follow:
Hafizullah with 5 family members: Hafizullah himself, his two sons (Nasibullah and Attaullah), his wife, daughter-in-law and brother-in-law.
3 family members of Haji Muhammad Gul Aka : His wife, daughter and son, Bashir.
Din Muhammad with 5 family members: Din Muhammad himself, his 2 sons, daughter-in-law and 2 grand children while another grand child was injured.
The son of Abdul Ghani who is currently serving jail term in Kandahar.
The son of Naimatullah.
The son of Dost Muhammad.
The daughter of Sahib Khan.
Muhammad Tahir along with his son.
On top of the above mentioned human losses, the locals also sustained heavy material losses as well; their vehicles were burnt, their money was stolen while 3 other innocent civilians were also detained.
On this same day the enemy forces used a chemical gas during their operation in Sarlat region’s Rod area and also poured acid on the bodies of some martyrs.
The Islamic Emirate strongly condemns this act of the cowardly enemy and considers it a clear sign of their weakness due to their inability of facing the Mujahideen and targeting defenseless civilians to avenge their defeat.
We call upon all independent human right organizations and its active members to raise their voice and condemn this huge violation by the Americans and their internal support forces so that all human right conventions and charters are applied uniformly.”
End of statement
There are two extremely diverse accounts of what happened in Shorabak and to date there does not appear to have been any independent investigation to check out what was the reality on the ground. Imagery on the video shows the dead bodies of men women and children and interviews locals. Even if there was an Al Qaeda training camp at some point, was it being used as a military facility in the present day? What checks were made to ensure that there were no civilian in the area of the attack? Alongside claims of the killing of non-combatant adults and children are further allegations referring to the use of helicopters to target locals and destroy property, theft, use of a “chemical gas” detaining women and children and defacing bodies using “acid”.
This incident must be independently investigated by human rights organizations. The allegations a are of a serious nature and may amount to war crimes. If such disputed incidents are not investigated then it is a licence for US and allies to behave how they please knowing there will be no checks or accountability for their actions.
Since this incident, there has been an attack on a Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan on October 3 where it is confirmed that civilians were targeted during an aerial attack by US forces. MSF reported at “least thirty people were killed in the airstrikes, including 13 staff members, 10 patients and 7 unrecognizable bodies yet to be identified.” MSF has called for a transparent and independent inquiry into this attack. See following link for further information,
“Kunduz hospital attack. MSF Factsheet”
The Kunduz attack has received much publicity in international press while Shorabak has received little in comparison. Shorabak must be investigated also so that the truth can be ascertained and in the event of any proven attack on civilians, justice has to be the end goal.
“Kunduz hospital had complained of threats from Afghan Special Forces in July, a full and independent investigation into bombing is essential”
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.