Sunday, October 19, 2008

NATO strike kills up to 30, say locals

From the International Herald Tribune:

NATO airstrike killed over 25 civilians, Afghans say

KABUL, Oct 17 - A NATO airstrike on a village near the embattled provincial capital of Lashkar Gah killed 25 to 30 civilians, according to Afghan officials in the area...

Residents claiming to have witnessed the airstrike said at least 18 bodies, all women and children - including one only 6 months old - were pulled from the rubble and taken to the provincial governor's compound in protest.

At nightfall Thursday in Kabul, the NATO command issued a statement confirming only that an airstrike had taken place in the Nadali District, northwest of Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand Province in the southwest...

Local officials and residents of Nadali said Thursday that a bomb had hit three houses in a village in the Loy Bagh District where seven families were seeking refuge from fighting elsewhere. Mahboob Khan, the district chief, said in a telephone interview that 18 bodies had been retrieved, and that as many as 12 other bodies remained in the rubble. Khan said the bombing had caused widespread anger among the villagers...

The BBC reported that one of its journalists had seen 18 bodies, all women and children ranging in age from 6 months to 15 years.

Accounts gathered over the telephone by a reporter for The New York Times in Kandahar, about 135 kilometers, or 85 miles, east of Lashkar Gah, were similar. (link)
The Times relays claims by the office of Helmand's governor that the victims may not have died from military action, but from a collapsing house.

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