4-Year-Old Aisha Lost Her Face in a U.S. Drone Strike

4-Year-Old Aisha Lost Her Face in a U.S. Drone Strike

By Matt Lemas

4-Year-Old Aisha

June 11, 2014 “ICH” – “RYOT” – On September 7th 2013, an American drone in Afghanistan struck a car carrying 15 passengers. Everyone was killed in the attack except for one — a four-year-old girl named Aisha.

The girl was traveling with her parents, a sibling, and other relatives to their home in Gamber, a village in the Kunar province of Aghanistan.

Referred to by the locals as “American birds,” U.S. drone strikes are a common fixture in Kunar, where the Taliban reportedly has a strong presence.

The wreckage was discovered by Aisha’s uncle, Meya Kan, and other villagers on the road after they received a phone call from a neighboring village.

Kan saw body parts strewn all around the wreckage, and assumed everyone was dead — until he he heard a voice calling out for water.

It was Aisha.

Upon being pulled from the ruined vehicle, the four-year-old girl was unrecognizable. She’d lost both eyes and her nose.

The Investigation

Journalist Terese Cristiansson came across Aisha’s story while Swedish newspaper Expressen was interviewing Afghan hospital personnel about children who were injured after being forced to plant roadside bombs.

The doctor she met with, Humayoon Zaheer, couldn’t refer her to any roadside bomb injuries within the hospital. Instead, he related one particularly gruesome tale — the story of Aisha.

“We had another case here,” Zaheer told Expressen. “She came in a couple of weeks ago, in September. A little girl who had lost her face in a drone strike. It was a very unusual case. I’ll never forget it.”

Expressen reports that Aisha was brought into the hospital with her nose, both eyes, and one hand missing.

The girl was shuffled to two different hospitals in Afghanistan before being transferred to a medical facility in the capital of Kabul, the only place in the country capable of treating her severe injuries.

A few days after being in Kabul, Aisha was visited by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was at the hospital for a goodwill mission. In an interview with the Washington Post five months after the attack, Karzai recalled that seeing Aisha at the hospital was his “worst day in office.”
“The worst of it was when I went to visit a little girl in the French hospital who had no face, who was 4 1/2 years old, who had no face, completely blown off from the chin up to the eyes. She was blinded — her eyes were there but were blinded. Her arm was also not there. And she had lost the whole family, the entire family, 14 of them, in the bombing in Kunar. And that day . . . [note: there is a 39-second pause as Karzai struggles with his emotions] . . . that day, I wished she were dead and not alive, so she could be buried with her parents and brothers and sisters.”

Following the president’s visit, Aisha was moved across the globe to a hospital in the United States — without the consent of her remaining family. The girl’s two uncles were not allowed to accompany her.

It was at this point — five weeks after the initial strike — that Cristiansson sought to find Aisha. The girl’s uncles granted the journalist power of attorney, which made her the family’s official representative.

Through her research, she discovered that Aisha had been flown to the Walter Reed Military Hospital in Washington. From there, Aisha was put in the care of Solace for Children, a relief organization that treats Afghan children with war injuries, then finds them foster families until they can be flown back to their homes.

As the representative of Aisha’s family, Cristiansson reached out to Solace, but the organization said they’d been told that the girl didn’t have any relatives. After the journalist confirmed to the organization that Aisha did in fact have living family in Afghanistan, Solace declined to participate in any further questioning.

For weeks, Cristiansson was blackballed by the organization and heard nothing about Aisha’s condition. To both the journalist and the girl’s family, it seemed like a cover-up. Aisha’s two uncles believed that the U.S. military was withholding their niece to limit negative coverage of drone strikes.

“They probably don’t want her to become a poster girl for drone repercussions,” they told Expressen.

During this time, the International Security Assistance Force told Cristiansson that the September strike was performed because there were eight Taliban affiliates in the vehicle, and that they regret the civilian casualties.

The family of Aisha, however, said otherwise.

“How could they [commission an air strike?] They are not Taliban and there were several women and children in the car,” said Hasrat Gul, one of Aisha’s uncles.

It was not until March of this year that the family was finally updated on Aisha’s condition. When Cristiansson visted them, they told her that Aisha had been placed with a Muslim foster family in the United States. They added that her wounds had healed, but she’s still without her hand, eyes and nose.

In the end, the two uncles stressed that they just want Aisha to come home, rather than being stuck “in a country that killed her mother, father and little brother.”

“She belongs at home with us,” Meya Jan said.

The Toll of The Drone Program

2014 marks the fifth year of the U.S. drone program under President Obama, and it’s estimated that over this period at least 2,400 people have been killed. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that between 416 and 951 civilians, including 168 to 200 children, were among those who’ve died in Pakistan alone.

Additionally, both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International condemn the drone program, citing civilian casualties in Yemen and Pakistan that violate laws of war.

Just this March, the United Nations criticized American drone procedure for “the lack of transparency regarding the criteria for drone strikes, including the legal justification for specific attacks, and the lack of accountability for the loss of life resulting from such attacks.”

Nevertheless, the White House has held firm on their stance when it comes to drones.

In September of 2013, the same month Aisha was so badly injured in the devastating attack, the Obama administration denied claims from the aforementioned human rights organizations that laws were being broken.

Obama’s Chief Spokesman Jay Carney said current counterterrorism methods are “lawful” and “effective,” and that other methods would only increase civilian casualties.

In an interview with The New Yorker, President Obama asserted that the use of drones is only necessary when terrorists can’t be captured, and stated that his goal isn’t to “go around blowing things up.” He mentioned that he “wrestles” with the idea of civilians being caught in the crossfire.

“What I’ve tried to do is to tighten the process so much and limit the risks of civilian casualties so much that we have the least fallout from those actions,” Obama told the New Yorker. “But it’s not perfect.”

But accepting those types of imperfections is what led to Aisha’s horrific injuries. Isn’t it time we open our eyes and start to make a change?

Tired of hearing about drones killing innocent civilians? You can tell President Obama’s administration how you feel by signing Code Pink’s petition asking the US to take away the CIA’s lethal drone program. Click the action box to sign the petition and share this story to Become the News!
CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION

Source

Why is the mainstream media not talking about this child?

If the Taliban had done this it would be everywhere.

Ne sure to share this with your friends.

This is the true face of the US drones.

If we don’t tell people who will? Certainly not the main stream media.

They also fail to tell the truth about the Ukraine as well.

They all tell the public Russia is to blame for all the deaths, when in fact that is a blatant lie.

1 trillion of our tax dollars are wasted on NATO.

About 75 percent of it is used by the US.

No accountability No audits as to how the money is spent.

How many children are like little  4-Year-Old Aisha?

1 trillion dollars, can buy a lot of death and maiming.

Add to that all the money US tax dollars that go to war.

About Half of the US budget is earmarked for war.

So how many children have the US taken?

What a shame we have so few real reporters left in the world.

 

 

 

 

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Afghanistan: 24 Civilians Killed by NATO in past week

6 Children and 3 Women Killed During NATO Raid in Afghanistan
The new accidental killing of civilians was reported by Daud Ahmadi, spokesperson of the provincial governor.
October 1 2009

Kandahar – Six children and three women were killed during a NATO air raid in the province of Helmand, southern Afghanistan. The new accidental killing of civilians was reported by Daud Ahmadi, spokesperson of the provincial governor. The raid, which claimed the life of 4 armed Taliban, was ordered as a reply to an attack against a convoy of NATO and Afghan forces in a village located in the Nad Ali district.

The male wounded civilians were admitted to a NATO hospital. ISAF confirmed the air raid, but not the number of victims, explaining that it was decided following an extended armed clash with guerrilla forces barricaded in the raided house. On September 4 dozens of civilians (30, according to the government investigation) died during the explosion of two tankers hit by NATO jets after that they had been seized by the Taliban.

Source

US soldiers gun down schoolboy in Paktika
The teenager was hit in the head by foreign soldiers.

By Obaid Kharotai

September 28, 2009

SHARAN: US forces shot dead a schoolboy on his way home in the southeastern province of Paktika on Monday, the victim’s father said.

Ghulam Shah, father of the 13-year-old Zeeshan, told Pajhwok Afghan News his son was returning home on a bicycle from school. He alleged NATO-led soldiers opened fire on the boy in Madatkhel area on the outskirts of Sharan, the provincial capital.

“No one can ask American troops about the killings of our sons, brothers and sisters,” an angry Ghulam Shah said, adding that his son also worked with a mechanic in the main Sharan bazaar during his free time.

A Sharan Civil Hospital employee, Najibullah, confirmed receiving Zeeshan’s bullet-riddled body. The teenager was hit in the head by foreign soldiers. The ISAF press office in the eastern zone also confirmed the incident and admitted it was a mistaken firing incident.

It said the boy was stuck by a bullet fired into the air and his family members would be provided compensation. The troops expressed sympathies with relatives of the victim.

Source

Six civilians dead in Kandahar air strike by foreign forces
Locals said there was no Taliban in the area. They expressed their wonder why the foreign forces conducted the air strike.

By Basher Ahmad Nadem

September 24 2009

KANDAHAR: Six people were killed and several others wounded in an air strike by foreign forces in Arghandab district of the volatile southern Kandahar province, residents said Thursday.

The air raid was conducted late Wednesday night in Nagahan area that lasted one hour, according to residents, who had brought their injured relatives to the Mirwais Civil Hospital in Kandahar City.

Abdul Wahid, a resident said, several gunship helicopters arrived in the area and suddenly started bombing their houses.

He said till morning six dead bodies were retrieved from beneath the rubbles of the destroyed houses.

He feared the death toll could be increased as residents were searching for bodies.

Health Director Dr. Abdul Qayyum told Pajhwok Afghan News seven injured people were brought to the hospital from Arghandab district.

A senior police officer in the province, Fazl Ahmad Sherzad, confirmed the air strike.

He added that 5 Taliban were killed and 15 other were injured in this air strike.

Some residents said the attack was carried out in the area of a tribal elder Pehlawan, who had raised a tribal force against Taliban militants.

Locals said there was no Taliban in the area. They expressed their wonder why the foreign forces conducted the air strike.

Foreign forces based in Kandahar have said nothing about the air raid.

Source

Eight civilians killed in air raid of foreign troops in Helmand
Neighbors gathered to transfer the wounded to the hospital, once again there was a rocket attack from the air and eight civilians were killed as a result
By Zainulah Stanikzay

September 23 2009

Eight civilians are killed and four others wounded in the air strike by foreign troops, a number of residents from the Marja district of Helmand province are claiming.

This statement was said to Pajhowk Afghan News in Lashkargah Emergency Hospital by the residents of Marja district who brought their injured .

On September 23, a man named Abdul Khaliq told Pajhowk about the shelling of foreign troops from their helicopters during their patrol.

He added, four guests had come for Eid celebration to his home and were sleeping in the yard when they got injured by the firing of foreign troops.

According to him when they and their neighbors gathered to transfer the wounded to the hospital, once again there was a rocket attack from the air and eight civilians were killed as a result.

Another resident named Norullah from the same district told PAN that there were no Taliban near this village but the armed Taliban from the nearby village had fired on helicopters.

In the correspondent attack of foreign troops it caused civilian casualties to the village he added.

The British troops stationed in Helmand and the Afghan authorities expressed as they were unaware of the incident.

Although the armed Taliban hasn’t said any thing about this, but Qari Yousaf the Taliban spokes person is giving news about the number of foreign troops killed in separate explosions in Greshk and Lashkargah.

According to another news a ten year old boy has been killed as a result of the firing of foreign troops in Nadali district.

Jalal one of the residents of the district told the PAN about the attack of armed Taliban over the troops from the Nadali district the day before that incident.

He added that in the correspondent attack of foreign troops, no Talib has been killed, but a ten year old boy who was standing opposite to his home was shot dead.

Source

‘Hush’ over Afghan mission must end

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US-NATO Using Military Might To Control World Energy Resources

Afghanistan’s hidden toll: Injured Troops

Published in: on October 2, 2009 at 5:04 am  Comments Off on Afghanistan: 24 Civilians Killed by NATO in past week  
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