By Joshua Partlow
They said Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, dismissed allegations by Karzai's office and the provincial governor that civilians were killed and said residents had invented stories, or even injured their children, to pin the blame on U.S. forces and force an end to the operation.
“I was dizzy. My head was spinning,” one meeting participant told the Post in reference to Petraeus’s remarks. “This was shocking. Would any father do this to his children? This is really absurd.”
Another Afghan at the meeting said that Petraeus implied that some parents had “decided to create a civilian casualty claim to pressure international forces to cease the [operation]. They burned hands and legs of some of their children and sent them to the hospital.”
No brainer here. Who would YOU believe? The most up front and honest military in the world or the families?
"He claimed that in the midst of the [operation] some pro-Taliban parents in contact with a government official decided to create a civilian casualty claim to pressure international forces to cease the [operation]. They burned hands and legs of some of their children and sent them to the hospital," a second participant said.
"Killing 60 people, and then blaming the killing on those same people, rather than apologizing for any deaths? This is inhuman," one Afghan official said. "This is a really terrible situation."
"The review of these engagements is still underway, so there's always the possibility one of them may have resulted in civilian casualties, but regardless, reports from elders in the region appear unrealistically high and unsupported by anything we know to date," Smith said. The investigation "is still ongoing, so no final judgments are being made at this time."
"We haven't seen much evidence of many civilian casualties."