Their Quota of Corpses

Abby Zimet

Fazel Muhamad, 48, holding pictures of family members killed in the attack. Photograph: Ghaith Abdul-Ahad

The way the news had it, a NATO airstrike last week in northern
Afghanistan destroyed two fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban and
killed "a large number of insurgents." The way the villagers
see it, almost a hundred sons, brothers and cousins died in a ball of
fire, poor people siphoning gas with winter coming on. After, relatives
began fighting over the incinerated bodies. Elders formed a line.

From the U.K.'s Guardian: "A
man comes and says, 'I lost my brother and cousin', so we gave him two
bodies," said village chief Omar Khan. "Another says I lost five relatives, so we
gave him five bodies to take home and bury. When we had run out of
bodies we started giving them limbs, legs, arms, torsos."

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