U.S. Drone Strikes In Afghanistan Cause Villagers To Flee

KHALIS FAMILY VILLAGE, Afghanistan — Barely able to walk even with a cane, Ghulam Rasool says he padlocked his front door, handed over the keys and his three cows to a neighbor and fled his mountain home in the middle of the night to escape relentless airstrikes from U.S. drones targeting militants in this remote corner of Afghanistan.

"They are evil things that fly so high you don’t see them but all the time you hear them," said Rasool, whose body is stooped and shrunken with age and his voice barely louder than a whisper. "Night and day we hear this sound and then the bombardment starts."

The U.S. military is increasingly relying on drone strikes inside Afghanistan, where the number of weapons fired from unmanned aerial aircraft soared from 294 in 2011 to 506 last year.

Rasool said his decision to leave his home in Hisarak district came nearly a month ago after a particularly blistering air assault killed five people in the neighboring village of Meya Saheeb.

Rasool’s 12-year-old grandson, Ahmed Shah, recalled the attack in Meya Saheeb. The earth shook for what seemed like hours and the next morning his friends told him there were bodies in the nearby village. A little afraid, but more curious, he walked the short distance to Meya Saheed.

"I wanted to see the dead bodies," he said. And he did – three bodies, all middle-aged men.

ISAF reported five militants were killed, but Rasool claimed they were businessmen. One of the dead had a carpet shop in the village, he said.

"Shamefully they destroyed our school, our books, our library," x

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    These drone strikes have to stop.I don’t care how many lives it costs you to engage with your enemy face to face. That’s...
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