Saturday, June 30, 2007

Official: Afghanistan airstrikes kills, wounds civilians including children; Villagers say toll far exceeds U.S. estimates

Above: Soldiers from the 3rd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division question a local Afghan in the Sagin Valley near where the airstrike took place.

U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in southern Afghanistan left at least 30 people, including women and children, killed or wounded, a local official said Saturday.

Taliban fighters tried to ambush a joint U.S.-Afghan military convoy in Helmand province’s Gereshk district late Friday before fleeing into a nearby village for cover, said Mohammad Hussein, the provincial police chief.

Airstrikes targeted the militants in the village of Hyderabad, said Dur Ali Shah, the mayor of Gereshk.

Shah said 30 to 35 people were killed or wounded but he could not provide an exact breakdown. Villagers reported far more than 30 casualties but those figures were not immediately corroborated by officials. Six houses were also destroyed during the clash, Shah said.

“Right now we do not know the number of Taliban casualties,” Shah said.

Mohammad Khan, a resident of Hyderabad, said seven members of his family, including his brother and five of his brother’s children, were killed by airstrikes.

“I brought three of my wounded relatives to Gereshk hospital for treatment,” he said by phone.

The villagers on Saturday were burying a “lot of dead bodies,” Khan said.

Read the rest at Army Times

Related Link:
Report: More Afghanis killed by coalition than by militants; Karzai says 90 dead in 10 days, Afghan lives 'not cheap'; U.S. says no changes needed