In the latest scandal to engulf the American troops in Afghanistan, a video has been released online of a US helicopter crew singing "Bye-bye Miss American Pie" upon pounding a group of Afghan men with a Hellfire missile.
The posting on the video, released by Liveleak.com
, says it was recorded in Wardak Province, which lies south-west of the capital, Kabul, in September 2009.
The footage, taken from the cockpit of an AH64 Apache helicopter in the 101st airborne division, shows an air raid on an Afghan roadway. As the pilots close in on the target, they release a Hellfire missile. The targets can be seen as little white spots in the middle of the road.
They turn to run, and the moment before they are engulfed in flame, one of the pilots is heard singing an impromptu rendition of Don McLean’s ‘American Pie.’
As the survivors of the strike run for cover in the surrounding structures, the pilots continue their attack with lighter fire, to which one of the pilots coolly remarks "you missed". As one of the targets hides in the neighboring building one of the pilots, possibly the same Don McLean fan, asks “I have eyes on the building. You want me to shoot the building?” to which he receives a negative response.
The US-led forces routinely indentify men spotted digging in Afghan roads as insurgents and open fire on them. Afghan officials, however, have criticized the US-led foreign troops in the past for killing farmers and people working on irrigation ditches.
The footage is already generating controversy for the US government that has had to deal with multiple scandals involving deplorable conduct of American troops in Afghanistan.
In April, the Los Angeles Times
published pictures that showed American soldiers posing with the bodies of dead Afghans in the south of the country.
That came after several damaging months for the US military in Afghanistan that heavily undermined trust in their conduct and motives.
On March 11, the US troops went on a deadly shooting rampage causing the wrath and enragement of the Afghan public. Afghan villagers said a group of American troops broke into their homes, asking about the Taliban. Witnesses said they told the troops that there were no Taliban there, but they started shooting at people anyway.
While the US military announced only one soldier was to blame for the violence, a fact-finding mission set up by the Afghan parliament said at least 20 US soldiers were involved in the massacre of 16 civilians, including nine children, in the district of Panjwaii in Kandahar.
On February 20, US soldiers burned the copies of the Holy Qur'an and other Islamic texts at the US-run Bagram Airbase, located 11 kilometers (7 miles) southeast of the city of Charikar in Parwan Province. The incident triggered riots that left 30 people dead and led to the deaths of six American soldiers.
The desecration of the Holy Qur’an underscores the insensitivity of the US-led forces to the cultural and religious values and rituals of Afghanistan more than 10 years after they invaded the country.
On January 13, a video showed four US Marines urinating on Afghan corpses. In the 39-second video, the four soldiers in combat gear and carrying weapons are seen acting in unison as they stand over the corpses and urinate. They sigh and laugh. One of the marines says "Have a great day, buddy" while another comments "Golden, like a shower."
There have been many large demonstrations across Afghanistan against the presence of US-led troops in the country one decade after the beginning of the war.