US bombs wipe Afghan village off map, says report

London: Tarok Kolache, a village in the Arghandad River Valley in Afghanistan`s Kandahar province, has been completely erased from the map after an offensive by the US army against the Taliban, the British media reported on Saturday.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, after two attempts at clearing the village led to casualties on both sides, Lt Col David Flynn, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force 1-320th, gave the order to pulverise the village.

The daily published photographs of before and after the bombing that showed the complete destruction of the village.

His men were "terrified to go back into the pomegranate orchards to continue clearing (the area); it seemed like certain death", writes West Point graduate Paula Broadwell on the Foreign Policy blog.

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 report said.

The destruction escalated, however, with "49,200lbs of ordnance" dropped on the village via air strikes and ground-launched rockets, which saw it swiftly blown off the face of the earth.

The results of the battery were adjudged to have left "NO CIVCAS" – no civilians killed.

But with Tarok Kolache bombarded with close to 25 tons of explosives, assuming some collateral damage does not seem unjustified, the paper said.

Outside analysts have not been able to assess the impact of the bombing on civilians due to security concerns.

Erica Gaston, an Open Society Institute researcher based in Afghanistan, said the erasure of Tarok Kolache was exactly the type of behaviour that would deal a body blow to Afghan acceptance of the presence of international force.

According to Broadwell`s post on Foreign Policy, Gen Petraeus has approved USD 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 Arghandab".

Miss Broadwell, who has served as a major in the US Army, was educated at Harvard University before completing a PhD at London University`s War Studies Department.

}