Friday, August 22, 2008

Officials: 76 civilians killed by US-led forces

The Afghan Interior Ministry announced that US-led troops have killed 76 civilians in Herat province. Reuters has the story:

U.S.-led forces kill 76 Afghan civilians: ministry
By Sharafuddin Sharafyar

HERAT, Aug 22 (Reuters) - U.S.-led coalition forces killed 76 Afghan civilians in western Afghanistan on Friday, most of them children, the Interior Ministry said...

"Seventy-six civilians, most of them women and children, were martyred today in a coalition forces operation in Herat province," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Coalition forces bombarded the Azizabad area of Shindand district in Herat province on Friday afternoon, the ministry said. Nineteen of the victims were women, seven of them men and the rest children under the age of 15, it said.

U.S.-led coalition forces denied killing any civilians. They said 30 militants had been killed in an air strike in Shindand district in the early hours of Friday and no further air strikes had been launched in the area later in the day...

Saeed Sharif, an elder and member of a local council where the strike took place, told Reuters many civilians were killed.

"Last night, around 2 a.m. some people were attending a holy Koran recitation in Shindand district when Americans started bombing. Tens of civilians were killed," said Sharif.

A senior police commander in western Afghanistan confirmed the incident but could not say how many civilians died...

A spokesman for the Defence Ministry in Kabul said U.S. special forces and Afghan troops had been carrying out an operation against a commander named Mulla Sidiq, who was planning to attack a U.S. base in Herat.

"Twenty-five Taliban were killed, including Sidiq and one other commander,"
said spokesman General Zaher Azimi.

"Unfortunately, five civilians were killed in the bombing." ... (link)

Note that some locals apparently claimed the bloody incident occurred in the afternoon of August 22, while others say it occurred earlier, around 2:00 AM on August 22. While the US military acknowledges an early morning operation, they deny there was any afternoon assault. In any case, earlier reports indicated, as the Defence Ministry's Azimi states above, that the middle of the night attack killed 25 insurgents and five civilians (three women and two children).


Al Jazeera has some details:
... Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr reported that the figures had been confirmed by the provincial governor and police chief.

She said the information had been gathered by a team of investigators from the army, police and intelligence service. They had retrieved bodies from houses that had been bombed. They expect the toll to rise as not all the houses have been checked.

"People are very angry," Khodr reported. "This is not the first time. Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has made repeated calls for Nato to stop air strikes." ... (link)

1 comment:

kyle said...

"Seventy-six civilians, most of them women and children, were martyred today in a coalition forces operation in Herta province," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
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