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'Up to 100 dead' in Afghan raid
2009-05-06 12:26:15


The ICRC says it has sent a team to Bala Baluk in response to a request from local tribal leaders

The Nation Press -

Up to 100 Afghan civilians may have been killed during an air raid by US forces during a joint operation targeting suspected fighters, a regional administrator says.

Rohul Amin, the governor of Farah, said on Wednesday that he feared that 100 civilians had been killed in the western province's Bala Baluk district, about 600km from Kabul, the capital.

Amin said that Taliban fighters were reportedly using civilian homes to take shelter during the fighting.

If the claims are verified, the deaths in Farah would be the largest loss of civilian life in a single incident since US-led forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, US secretary of state, said in Washington on Wednesday that the Obama administration "deeply, deeply" regrets the loss of innocent life apparently caused by the US bombing in Afghanistan.
She called such incidents "particularly painful".

Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's president, in the US capital for a US-Afghanistan-Pakistan meeting, thanked Clinton for "showing concern and regret".
He hoped the two sides would work together completely to reduce civilian casualties in the "struggle against terrorism".

'Dozens of bodies'

Jessica Barry, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), earlier said that the organisation sent a team to the region after concerned tribal leaders contacted them seeking help.

"When [our team] went to the first two villages where these incidents took place they saw dozens of bodies. They saw graves and they saw people being buried," she told Al Jazeera.

Barry said that an ICRC community-based first aid volunteer and his extended family, including his five daughters and three sons, were among the dead.

She said that they were killed while sheltering in their home.

The US said on Tuesday that it was conducting a joint inquiry, along with the Afghan government, into the deaths, with investigators from both sides visiting the sites.

Robert Wood, the acting US state department spokesman, said in a statement: "Coalition forces and the Afghan government have received reports of civilian casualties in conjunction with a militant attack on Afghan National Security Forces in Farah Province on May 5.

"A joint investigation will be conducted to determine exactly what happened."

Colonel Greg Julian, a US military spokesman, acknowledged that a battle had taken place, but could not say if there had been civilian deaths.

"Once we get eyes on the ground we will have a better idea of what may have happened," he said.

Account of clash

The deadly clashes in Bala Baluk occurred after Taliban fighters killed three former government officials in a village for co-operating with the state, Amin, the Fatah governor, said.

He said that villagers had brought lorry loads of bodies to his office in the provincial capital as proof of their death.

If verified, the Farah deaths would be the largest loss of civilian life in a single incident

The US government has come under increasing criticism during the past year for civilian deaths during operations against Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan.

Barry, the ICRC spokesperson, said: "I think that it is important to remember that this is not a one-off situation. There has been a rise in casualties over the last year. 

"It is absolutely important to remind all sides that civilians must not be harmed."

For his part, Wood of the state department said: "US and international forces take extensive precautions to avoid loss of life among Afghan civilians as well as international and Afghan forces during operations against insurgents and terrorists."

Karzai said that the civilian deaths in Farah were unacceptable and that he intended to discuss it with Barack Obama, his US counterpart, on Wednesday.

The trilateral talks involving Karzai, Obama and Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistan president, are aimed at addressing the war against the Taliban.

Focus on fighting

The Taliban has used Pakistan's border region with Afghanistan as a base to launch attacks in the two countries since their five-year rule in Kabul was ended by a US military invasion in 2001.

Washington has heightened its focus on fighting the Taliban since the Obama administration assumed power this year, with an added 21,000 troops being sent to Afghanistan.

There are more than 30,000 US troops in Afghanistan already, alongside a similar number of troops from other foreign nations.

Last year, about 2,000 civilians were killed in fighting against the Taliban, according to the UN.

Source : Al Jazeera - thenation press servecis
 
 
Comments
UCNMSalPnITQdSrPQ - Ivan
Bounce around the net Michael and you will find more thana0one.So letsa0recap:We have a dreadadful Repubadliadcan baedte from Vegas.….….sorry RGB I know how much you want to think betadter of their peradforadmance so I actuadally went back and watched a tape of it. If that was a series of solid peradforadmances then you have lower stanaddards than most that apparadently endured it. Then we disadcuss the field on here tryading to figadure out who is where in the foray. Let me tell you up front.….….none of them are any where. Some examadples just since the baedte:Bachadmann has her entire field operadaadtion quit in NH and apparadently still doesn’t realadize it. Cain reconadfuses on the topic of aboradtion, then apparadently decides he needs to ditch the minadiadmum wage to make 9–9-9 work which is apparadently now going to be 9–0-9 because you all know how baddly we need to proadtect those pesky job creadators. And dear dear Mitt takes out and adveradtiseadment on just how litadtle he knows about foradeign affairs, what his own paradties last presadiaddent signed and any apparadent realadizaadtion of what the sitaduadaadtion is and has been in Iraq. (How damned stuadpid does one have to be to offer up a counter slam that opens the door to Romadney out sourcading ofa0jobs?)But hey it just keeps getadting betadter. Canadtor decides to counter wealth inequaladiadties at the Wharadton School? (Now that should impress the unemadployed and underademadployed) but the litadtle chickadenadshit couldn’t even pull that off because he was afraid he couldn’t hand pick the audiadence. Boehner is startading to look like he may have fallen off the wagon again and Repuadbiadcan Senadaadtors douadble down on blockading any and all aspects of the jobs bill. But not just blockading it refusading to even let it be baedted because it (wait for it) would be pickading on those pesky job creadators. But they foradget the numadbers behind the proadposal are now out there and even in comadbiadnaadtion they seem pretty damned small. Small enough that the averadage over worked and underadpaid (if paid) Ameradiadcan is going to wonadder what the bitcha0is.Repubadliadcans still demand less to be asked of indusadtry and the rich and newly pubadlished figadures show those same indusadtries had 160 Biladlion in profit last quaradter. Were I advisading the Repubadliadcans I would have to offer this. Repubadliadcans in conadgress go home and lock your self in a room with no phone.…nothing to comadmuadniadcate with the outadside world. Repubadliadcan canaddiaddates try your next baedte in mime (hell Romadney thinks that was part of the last gig) and for the rest of us standby for Cheeney and comadpany to make the harpading on the troop pull outs look like nursadery school storya0hour.Hell Mule man lets you and I form an Indeadpenaddent party, it would ceradtainly be indeadpenaddent as a hog on ice and I’m betadting would have betadter food. The conadvenadtion would probadaadbly make the WWF blush but so may the Repubadliadcans this time around. Gawd Ameradiadcan poladiadtics can give one heartadburn Bouradbon can’ta0cure.….…a0
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