US military is facing fresh questions over its targeting policy in Afghanistan after a senior army officer suggested that troops were on the lookout for "children with potential hostile intent".
In comments which legal experts and campaigners described as "deeply troubling", army Lt Col Marion Carrington told the Marine Corp [sic]* Times that children, as well as "military-age males", had been identified as a potential threat because some were being used by the Taliban to assist in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces.
"It kind of opens our aperture," said Carrington, whose unit, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was assisting the Afghan police. "In addition to looking for military-age males, it's looking for children with potential hostile intent.""Opens our aperture." Wow. All very mechanical, isn't it?
The piece also quoted an unnamed marine corps official who questioned the "innocence" of Afghan children, particularly three who were killed in a US rocket strike in October. Last month, the New York Times quoted local officials who said Borjan, 12, Sardar Wali, 10, and Khan Bibi, eight, from Helmand's Nawa district had been killed while gathering dung for fuel.* The