Afghan villagers say air strike kills civilians
Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:18am EDT
ASADABAD, Afghanistan – Afghan authorities were checking reports Monday of civilian casualties from an overnight air strike by U.S.-led forces, after villagers in a remote region said five people had been killed.
Civilian deaths caused by foreign troops while hunting the Taliban have sapped support for the presence of Western forces in Afghanistan and become a major cause of friction between the government and its Western backers.
“We were having dinner when the attack happened. Five civilians were killed, among them children,” village resident Ezatuallah, who uses one name, told Reuters by telephone from Wata Pur, a rugged district in eastern Kunar province near the Pakistan border.
He said ten people were wounded.
A spokesman for the U.S. military in Kabul said he had no information about the strike but would check.
Last week five civilians, including an infant, were killed in a U.S.-led operation in southeastern Khost province. U.S. forces acknowledged those deaths and apologized.
The number of civilians killed in operations by foreign forces while hunting the Taliban-led insurgents in Afghanistan has steadily climbed, reaching hundreds last year, according to human right groups and the government.
New US rocket attack targets Pakistani village: here.
AFGHAN President Hamid Karzai summoned the top NATO general in Afghanistan for the second time in three days on Sunday to explain soaring civilian casualties.
What the New York Times unwittingly reveals about the war in Afghanistan: here.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has warned Pakistani authorities that US-Pakistan relations will be imperiled unless they heed Washington’s admonitions and bloodily suppresses a growing Islamacist insurgency fueled by the US occupation of Afghanistan: here.