Afghan Civilians and the Value of Anonymity

A late December NATO attack in eastern Afghanistan reportedly killed nine people–or, according to NATO, nine militants. According to Afghans, nine young civilians. The first round of reporting showed that some outlets, as usual, were willing to take the U.S./NATO line at face value–so long as that line was delivered anonymously, as in the December 28 New York Times: A senior NATO official with knowledge of the operation said that the raid had been carried out by a joint Afghan-American force and that its target was a group of men who were known Taliban members and smugglers of homemade bombs, […]