Deccan Herald, May 3, 2007
51 civilians killed in US-led operation in western Afghanistan
The bloodshed sparked angry anti-US protests this week by villagers
Kabul: According to an official report, 51 villagers died during a US-led operation against Taliban militants in western Afghanistan.
Afghanistan can no longer accept or understand civilian deaths, President Hamid Karzai said, after officials reported that 51 villagers died during a US-led operation against Taliban militants in western Afghanistan.
RAWA: This 9-year-old girl told journalists that her father, mother and sisters were killed by the US troops in Nangahar province on April 29, 2007
Despite claims yesterday that women and children were among the dead, the US military maintained it had no reports of civilian casualties. Amid mounting public anger, students staged an anti-American protest in an eastern city.
The coalition said the military operation, including airstrikes, was conducted between Friday and Sunday by US and Afghan forces in Herat province's Zerkoh Valley and killed 136 suspected Taliban - the deadliest fighting in Afghanistan since January.
The bloodshed sparked angry anti-US protests this week by villagers, and Mohammad Homayoun Azizi, chief of Herat's provincial council, said two council members who visited the area reported to him that 51 civilians were killed.
The officials were part of a high-level delegation including lawmakers, police and intelligence officials who investigated the incident.
Azizi said the bodies were buried in three different locations and included women and children. The dead included 12 relatives of a man named Jamal Mirzai, he said.
A local resident named Mohammed being treated in a hospital yesterday said he was wounded in the aerial bombardment.
"There were no Taliban. Ten of my relatives have been killed, including two of my cousins," said the man, who gave only his first name. -AP
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