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Cablegate: Presidential Statement Regarding the Goa's Shindand

VZCZCXRO4004
OO RUEHPW
DE RUEHBUL #2402/01 2470653
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 030653Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5370
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 002402

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

PASS STATE FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A
NSC FOR WOOD
OSD FOR MCGRAW
CENTCOM FOR CSTC-A, POLAD, CG CJTF-101
E.O 12958
TAGS: MOPS PGOV PREL AF
SUBJECT: PRESIDENTIAL STATEMENT REGARDING THE GOA'S SHINDAND
INVESTIGATION

1. (U) The following is Embassy's translation of the Office of the
President's August 31st statement detailing the
results of a GOA investigation of the Shindand operation.

2. (U) Begin text:

Nimatullah Shahrani, the Minister for Hajj and
Endowment Affairs was assigned as the head of the delegation
to investigate the Coalition Forces' bombardment in Azizabad
and Nowabad villages in Shindand District, Herat Province.
The delegation was comprised of MPs from the Lower and Upper
houses of Parliament and representatives from the Afghan
Ministry of Interior.

The head of the delegation stated that the Coalition
Forces targeted 15 residential houses, eight of which were
totally destroyed, and seven were partially damaged. The
delegation stated that Coalition Forces bombed a mourning
ceremony for an influential Herati citizen, Mr. Timor Shah.
(Note: During mourning ceremonies a large number of people
participate, recite the holy Quran, and then eat together). As
stated, high-ranking security and other government officials
were invited to the ceremony for Mr. Shah. The delegation
noticed some cooking pots, and a water tank, which were
destroyed as a result of the bombing. The delegation also
noticed human body parts at the sites (e.g. hands, feet, and
heads) which were collected and kept by the local people after
burying the dead.

The head of the delegation stated that 90 civilians
were killed and six were injured as a result of the bombing.
The dead included 15 adult males and 15 adult females. The
remaining victims were children between ages 1 and 18 years-
old. The Coalition Forces arrested five teenagers during the
operation. As stated by local residents, security institutions
in the district, and eye witnesses, all the victims were
civilians and did not include any Taliban insurgents.

Naimatullah Shahrani added that the military and
intelligence officials in the province did not have any
information regarding the presence of Taliban insurgents in
the area. Based on the remarks by Herat Province's Provincial
Council Head, the Commander of the 207th Army Corps told the
Council via phone that they had no information regarding the
Coalition Forces' plan to bomb the area.

The head of the delegation added that after questioning
the army officials, they found that the U.S. Special Forces
had only informed the Afghan Commandos Battalion of the
operation. In fact 45 Afghan commandos were accompanying the
Special Forces during the raid in Azizabad village. According
to the Commander of Army Corps, the Afghan commandos and U.S.
Special Forces were traveling together towards the villages
when they came under attack. The Afghan commandos stopped and
held their position while the U.S. Special Forces continued
their march into the villages and began to conduct the
operation. The Commander added that the Coalition forces'
aircraft bombed the area continuously from 2:00 A.M. until
8:00 A.M.

Naimatullah Shahrani added that the delegation spoke to
the local people and the families of the victims in detail and
passed the President's, Parliament's, and the Security Forces'
condolences to them and recognized and acknowledged their
patience during the delegation's investigation.

Naimatullah Shahrani added that the people asked the
delegation for the following: "We are not going to complain to
the police, the military, or intelligence officials, but we
are asking the delegation to bring to justice those who caused
this incident by providing inaccurate information." The local
people asked the government to take this issue seriously and
to tackle those foreign spies who are trying to create
distance between the Government of Afghanistan and the people,
and for trying to encourage the Coalition Forces to act
against the people of Afghanistan.

Mr. Naimatullah Shahrani also said that the delegation
distributed 90,300,000 Afghanis for the burials and funerals

KABUL 00002402 002 OF 002


of the victims. The President also ordered the officials in
Herat Province to assign another delegation to investigate the
damage in the surrounding area.

The delegation also met with the Commander of the U.S.
Specials Forces in charge of the western zone, but the answers
provided were not satisfactory. The U.S. officials
stated that the responsible officials were now in Bagram answering
questions related to the incident. They will inform the delegation
of the results.

The Afghan President studied the report prepared by
the delegation and expressed condolences and sympathy to the
local residents of the two villages via phone and assured them
of a thorough follow up.

End text.

3. (SBU) COMMENT: Post brings this to WashingtonQs attention,
although a number of the characterizations of the situation
do not square with our understanding of events, which will be
reported through military channels. END COMMENT.

WOOD

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