Breaking News
Friday, May 11, 2007

Al Jazeera English - News

US admits Afghan civilian deaths
Karzai has repeatedly asked the coalition
to avoid killing civilians [AFP]

The US-led coalition has admitted there were civilian casualties this week, but said they occurred during fighting with the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.

Witnesses to Tuesday night's deaths in Helmand province said they were caused by an air raid and that no Taliban fighters were present. Villagers put the toll at about 40.

At the time, Nato, which is also in the country, denied any knowledge of the raid, while the US-led coaltion said it would check the reports.

On Friday, the coalition said in a statement: "There are confirmed reports of civilian casualties; however, it is unknown at this time how many..."

The statement said the coalition had treated up to 20 villagers wounded during a 16-hour battle that also involved Afghan army troops in Sangin district of Helmand province on Tuesday.

One boy died of his wounds after being evacuated by coalition troops, it said.

Afghan and coalition forces estimate a significant number of Taliban fighters, including a high-ranking commander, were killed in the battle.

Assadullah Wafa, the provincial governor, said he had no reports of Taliban casualties.

Western forces have been waging a widespread operation against Taliban fighters in Sangin in recent weeks.

Prior to the latest casualties, scores of civilians have been killed by Western forces in the past two weeks.


With anger already rising among Afghans over the toll, Sangin's residents have called on Hamid Karzai, the president, to come to see for himself how they have suffered.

Karzai has repeatedly urged foreign troops to avoid civilian casualties, to stop searching people's houses, and to co-ordinate attacks with his government.

Last week, Karzai said the patience of Afghans was running out.

On Tuesday, a US military commander apologised for the deaths of 19 civilians, killed by US troops in eastern Afghanistan in March.


Post a Comment

Rights in the News

Dissent and Conflict

Law and Society

Rights Matters

Copyright © HUQUQ -- Human Rights News, Reports, & Documents All Right Reserved