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Probe confirms US raid targeted Afghan civilians

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Press TV
Friday, May 8, 2009

A joint probe by the US and Afghan authorities shows civilians including women and children were the victims of US air strikes earlier this week in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai had authorized an investigation into reports that the US has recklessly caused civilian casualties in operations allegedly against the Taliban.

The details of the probe that acknowledges the loss of civilian lives on a large scale would be published later on Friday.

The civilians were killed on Tuesday when US warplanes dropped bombs on two villages in Bala Baluk district in the western province of Farah.

The investigation was conducted after days of protests by the Afghan people across Kabul and other major cities in the war-ravaged county. On Thursday, hundreds of Afghans staged a rally to protest the killings.

Balqis Roshan, a member of the Farah provincial council, said she believed more than 150 civilians were killed in the attacks.

Abdul Ghafar Watandar, the provincial police chief, said 17 houses were destroyed in the lethal strikes, killing “120 civilians”. Sources, however, said the death toll could rise further as bodies were still being pulled from the rubbles.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

According to Afghan police, over 100 people were killed and dozens of others injured in the airstrikes.

A team of Red Cross investigators confirmed the attack killed dozens of civilians in the strikes.

“We can absolutely confirm there were civilian casualties,” said Jessica Barry, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The US military has claimed that Taliban militants used civilian positions as cover for the attacks.

Afghan authorities have repeatedly called for an end to such deadly incidents.

The incident overshadowed a summit in Washington on Wednesday between President Barack Obama, Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday apologized for the US’ airstrike, promising to seek ways to avoid “the loss of innocent civilian life”.

The US military’s attacks on alleged militant hideouts on the common border with Pakistan have been incurring considerable civilian fatalities.

Despite the ensuing anti-American sentiment in both countries, US President Barack Obama has assigned 21,000 soldiers to the Afghanistan-based contingents.

Killing of civilians by US-led forces continues seven and half years after the US invaded the country to allegedly destroy Taliban and al-Qaeda and bring stability to the volatile region.

This article was posted: Friday, May 8, 2009 at 5:02 am

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