U.S. Afghan bombing
'kills dozens'


Afghan and Pakistani civilian toll continues to
mount; NATO again denies civilian casualties;
Bush continues to ignore demonstrations and,
frankly, not give a shit

Alastair Leithead

BBC News, Kabul
July 17, 2008

Dozens of Afghan civilians have been killed during aerial bombing by US forces in the western province of Herat, tribal elders say.

They said an important tribal elder was among the dead in Shindand district.

A Nato spokesman said a number of insurgents had been killed and there were no reports of civilian casualties

Earlier, US forces admitted killing eight civilians in a neighbouring province - the latest in a series of bombing incidents involving civilians.


News of the fighting in Shindand district came from tribal elders who reported dozens of casualties in the Zerkoh Valley.

They said a large number of civilians had been killed in aerial attacks from midnight until 1000 local time.

There were also unconfirmed reports of demonstrations beginning against Afghan security checkpoints.

Haji Nasrullah Khan, a hugely influential tribal leader, and three other men had been targeted and killed and four civilians injured, the local police chief for Shindand said.

A Nato spokesman confirmed there had been an operation in the region of Parmagan village and said: "All indicators were that it had been successful with a number of insurgents killed and no reports of any civilian casualties."

There have been attacks in the Zerkoh Valley in the past, with US forces accused of killing civilians last year in a bombing raid.

Survivors told the BBC local people had resisted American forces after they searched houses, including women's rooms which is not acceptable in local culture.

Shindand is a strongly tribal area close to the border with Iran and there have been reports of smuggling and links between the tribes and Taleban insurgents.

'Air support'

In a separate area of neighbouring Farah province, US forces said they had killed eight civilians after they were attacked from a number of houses in Bakwa district.

Their statement said a routine patrol came under sustained attack from machine-gun fire on Tuesday from houses adjacent to the road.

"The coalition returned fire and called for close air support on the enemy positions," the statement said.

"A house was hit - eight civilians were killed, two others injured. Coalition forces never intentionally target non-combatants, and deeply regret any occurrence such as this where civilians are killed and injured as a result of insurgent activity and actions."

The issue of civilian casualties has again come up as there have been a number of incidents over the last couple of weeks.

On Thursday President Hamid Karzai visited families of those killed in the eastern province of Nangahar who had reported that more than 50 people from a wedding party died after being bombed by American aircraft.

President Karzai offered them his condolences and some financial assistance.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/07/17 11:41:21 GMT