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Afghan villagers flee their homes, blame US drones

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Men peer through the former window of a destroyed school in the village of Budyali, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, on March 19, 2013. Taliban militants attacked the nearby district headquarters in July 2011, then took refuge in the school. The Afghan National Army requested help from coalition forces, who responded with drones, fighter jets and rockets, leaving the school destroyed, according to village elders.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Ahmed Shah, 12, center, recalls the attack on his village in the yard of a house where he and his family found refuge in the village of Khalis, Nangarhar province, on March 20, 2013.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Ghulam Rasool sits in the yard of his house in Khalis on March 20, 2013.

Barely able to walk even with a cane, Ghulam Rasool says he padlocked his front door, handed over the keys and his three cows to a neighbor and fled his mountain home in the middle of the night to escape relentless airstrikes from U.S. drones targeting militants in a remote corner of Afghanistan.

Rasool and other Afghan villagers have their own name for Predator drones. They call them benghai, which in the Pashto language means the "buzzing of flies." When they explain the noise, they scrunch their faces and try to make a sound that resembles an army of flies.

"They are evil things that fly so high you don't see them but all the time you hear them," said Rasool, whose body is stooped and shrunken with age and his voice barely louder than a whisper. "Night and day we hear this sound and then the bombardment starts." Read the full story.

 

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Boys study in a makeshift school in the village of Budyali, Nangarhar province, on March 19, 2013.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Papers and schoolbooks lie among the debris of a destroyed school in the village of Budyali, Nangarhar province, on March 19, 2013.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Men walk through the debris of the destroyed school in the village of Budyali, Nangarhar province, on March 19, 2013.

Rahmat Gul / AP

More than ten years after the beginning of the war, Afghanistan faces external pressure to reform as well as ongoing internal conflicts.

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