London: A village in
Afghanistan's Kandahar province has been completely wiped out of
the map after an offensive by the US Army to get rid of the
Taliban militants in the area, a media report said here.
Tarok Kolache, a small settlement in Kandahar near the Arghandad
River Valley, has been completely erased from the map, according
to the Daily Mail.
Taliban militants had taken control of the village and battered
the coalition task force with home-made bombs and improvised
explosive devices. After two attempts at clearing the village led
to casualties on both sides, Lieutenant Colonel 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",
Paula Broadwell, a West Point graduate, writes on the Foreign
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 results of the offensive were adjudged to have left "NO CIVCAS"
- no civilians killed, the daily said. But with Tarok Kolache
bombarded with close to 25 tonnes of explosives, assuming some
collateral damage does not seem unjustified.
Analysts have not been able to assess the impact of the bombing on
civilians due to security concerns. However, it has been agreed
that "extreme" operations such as the destruction of an entire
village are likely to have a negative impact on attempts to
improve coalition-Afghan relations.
The erasure of Tarok Kolache was exactly the type of behaviour
that would deal a body blow to Afghan acceptance of the presence
of the International Security Assistance Force, Erica Gaston, an
Open Society Institute researcher based in Afghanistan, was quoted
"But for this, I think (NATO) would have started to get some
credit for improved conduct," Gaston wrote in an email.
"Some Kandahar elders (and I stress 'some', not 'all' or even
'most') who had initially opposed the Kandahar operations were in
the last few months expressing more appreciation for ISAF conduct
during these operations, saying they had driven out the Taliban
and shown restraint in not harming civilians.
"I think this property destruction has likely reset the clock on
any nascent positive impressions."
According to Broadwell's post on Foreign Policy, US military
commander Gen. Petraeus has approved $1 million worth of
reconstruction projects but also told his commanders in the south
of Afghanistan to "take a similar approach to what 1-320th was
doing on a grander scale as it applies to the districts north of