Sunday, July 01, 2007

Report: 45 civilians among 107 killed in Afghan village airstrikes on Friday

Above: A soldier provides security while members ofthe British 42 Field Engineer Squadron build a checkpoint on the outskirts of Gereshk last November, where the work came under near-constant fire. The area is the world's largest producer of poppies for the opium trade, and is a major Taliban center in Afghanistan, bordering on Pakistan.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — An investigation into U.S.-led airstrikes that slammed into Afghan homes where Taliban fighters sought shelter found that 62 insurgents and 45 civilians were killed, two Afghan officials said Sunday.

An investigating team was sent to Helmand province’s Gereshk district, where fighting took place between insurgents and Western forces late Friday, said Dur Ali Shah, the mayor of Gereshk, and Mohammad Hussein Andewal, the provincial police chief.

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force has acknowledged some civilians were killed in the southern battle but has said the death toll was nowhere near as high as Afghan officials have claimed.

Because of the battle site’s remote location, it was impossible to independently verify the casualty claims. Afghan officials said fighter jets and ground forces were still patrolling the region and that the fighting continued into Saturday.

Read the rest at Army Times

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

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