AFP, November 28, 2007

Air strike kills 14 Afghan workers: company

The bodies of many of the roadworkers were in pieces after the attack, said the head of the Nuristan provincial council, Taj Mohammad.

ASADABAD, Afghanistan - International war planes going after insurgents in northeastern Afghanistan struck a road construction camp and killed 14 workers, leaving many unrecognisable, officials said Wednesday.

Choppers and fighter jets attacked the camp of tents in a remote area of rugged Nuristan province late on Monday evening, the head of the Amerifa Construction Company, Sayed Nurrullah Jalili, told AFP.

"Helicopters and jet fighters bombed our camp in western Nuristan province, killing 14 of our roadworkers," he said.

Amerifa, a joint-venture company between Afghans and South Koreans, has been building a 60-kilometre (37-mile) road in the difficult terrain -- about 180 kilometres northeast of Kabul -- for a year, Jalili said.

Eleven members of an Afghan family have been killed in an air strike by Western forces near Kabul, the head of a provincial council said on Tuesday.
Reuters, Oct.23, 2007

Provincial governor Tamim Nuristani said the strike was launched after a tip-off about Taliban activities in the area. "We had reports that rebels were there," he told AFP.

But Jalili said the company had not been aware of insurgent movements in the area. Nuristan is an isolated mountain province on the border with Pakistan that has seen occasional fighting between security forces and the Taliban.

"Taliban activity is an everyday issue but recently there was no particular Taliban movement that we are aware of," Jalili said

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and separate US-led coalition said they were investigating.

ISAF had used air strikes against Taliban in the region on Monday, the same day the men were killed, but there was no information on casualties, said ISAF spokesman Brigadier General Carlos Branco.

The governor, Nuristani, meanwhile, said another air raid in the same province had killed 12 militants.

The bodies of many of the roadworkers were in pieces after the attack, said the head of the Nuristan provincial council, Taj Mohammad.

"We collected their flesh and put it in bags. We handed the remains of the ones we could recognise to their families," he said. Mohammad told Afghan media that the foreign forces had been supplied incorrect information.

Ten bodies arrived in coffins in the eastern province of Nangarhar late Tuesday where they were collected by their relatives.

"Most of them were not recognisable. Their relatives were already waiting outside the hospital took the bodies home," Baz Mohammad Shirzad, the deputy head of the Nangarhar hospital, told AFP.

Families had to identify the men by their clothes, watches or other features as most could not be recognised by their faces, he said.

Civilian casualties in the international operation against the Taliban and other militants is a deeply sensitive issue and President Hamid Karzai has regularly urged military forces to take more care.

Several hundred civilians are believed to have been killed by international soldiers fighting the insurgents this year, but no official figure has been released.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said after talks with Karzai last week that civilian casualties were unavoidable in the fight but the alliance's deployment here had adapted its tactics to try to reduce them.

In another incident linked to the Taliban-led insurgency, Islamic militants ambushed a police patrol in the western province of Farah, killing two policemen, provincial governor Mohaiyudin Baluch said. Four more were missing.

Two ambushes in Ghazni province killed resulted in the deaths of two more policemen and one rebel, police said.

The Taliban were in government between 1996 and 2001, when they were removed for harbouring Al-Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks.

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