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PAN, April 7, 2008

Around 40 civilians killed in a deadly airstrike by US-led coalition

Around 20 bodies had been dug out from the debris, saying most of the victims were women, children and old people.

Abdul Moeed Hashmi

JALALABAD: Around 40 civilians were killed and 30 wounded in a deadly airstrike by US-led coalition troops in the eastern Nuristan province, officials said on Monday.

Local government functionaries and tribal elders claimed coalition warplanes pounded the Shawak Valley in Dowaba district. At least 20 bodies had been pulled out from the debris, they added.

People protest

Jan.24, 2008: Afghan men shout anti-US forces slogans during a demonstration in the main city of Ghazni province. US-led soldiers killed nine Afghan policemen, including a district police chief, and a woman in an overnight raid aimed at Taliban fighters, Afghan officials said Thursday. AFP/Mohammad Yaqubi

Photo Gallery of US victims in Afghanistan
The Afghan Victim Memorial Project by Prof. Marc

But the US military insisted on Sunday the joint search-and-cordon operation was conducted by Afghan and coalition troops in the valley after large groups of insurgents attacked them from several positions.

The coalition said a large number of fighters were eliminated and several detained in the wake of the ground and air raids. It denied civilian casualties in the operation that lasted several hours.

On Monday, provincial council head Maulvi Rahmatullah Rashedi told Pajhwok Afghan News the Afghan National Army (ANA) and coalition soldiers withdrawn from the area, but not before killing a number of ordinary residents.

He said residents were busy carrying out a rescue operation and retrieving corpses from rubble. Around 20 bodies had been dug out from the debris, he disclosed, saying most of the victims were women, children and old people.

"Another 20 bodies still remain buried under the debris, with the locals trying to pull them out," according to the public representative, who said 30 people were wounded in the bombardment and ground raid.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the governor scorned the coalition claim that many militants had been killed and captured. At least 200 civilian houses in the Myan-i-Tok village were badly damaged in the bombing. Yousuf Nuristani alleged.

However, the Defence Ministry in Kabul said the soldiers inflicted heavy casualties on insurgents in the long battle. One Afghan soldier was killed and three others sustained injuries in the fighting, the ministry said in a statement.

Category: US-NATO, HR Violations - Views: 14452


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