PAN, August 20, 2008

17 Civilians killed in NATO-led Operation in Laghman

Hazrat Gul an elder of Garoch area told Pajhwok Afghan News that 17 civilians were killed and a dozen of the victims from same family

Najibullah Inqilabi and Zubair Babakerkhil

MAHTARLAM: At least 17 civilians including women were killed during a NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) raid in mountainous areas of Mahtarlam capital of eastern Laghman province, local elders complained Wednesday.

Local officials said on Thursday the NATO soldiers have killed 20 civilians and wounded more than 20 others during an airstrike against Taliban fighters but governor said it was not clear who did inflicted losses to the civilians in the Laghman province.
PAn, August 21, 2008

The NATO operation which started in Spira Kondai area of Sorobi district of Kabul province two days back extended to Garoch, Mandaroro, Badpakh and Shagiliani areas of the eastern province.

The clashes between the militants and NATO forces which has claimed ten French soldiers and left over 20 more wounded, the exchange of fire between the two sides had also left 27 Taliban dead and two Afghan National Army (ANA) wounded.

Hazrat Gul an elder of Garoch area told Pajhwok Afghan News that 17 civilians were killed and a dozen of the victims from same family, he added, the dead included six women, two children and elders and youth.

NATO raided at a house belonging to Haji Qadir, he complained in the house the villagers were getting preparation for a wedding party.

All houses in the village were destroyed except a mosque, he added.

They were reported about 31 dead but more dead bodies were being unearthed from rubbles, he added the wounded were shifted to Mahtarlam civil hospital.

The Pentagon’s over-reliance on airstrikes — which have led to high levels of civilian casualties — has dangerously antagonized the Afghan population.
New York Times, August 21, 2008

Naqibullah anotehr elder of the village confirmed the civilian casualties in the bombardment.

Col Abdul Karim Omeryar police chief of the province expressed unawareness about the civilian casualties.

Abdul Wali a spokesman of the NATO base in Laghman rejected the claims on civilian casualties.

NATO had claimed in a statement killing 30 Taliban in the operations.

However a local Taliban commander Mufti Omer Khetab said all the dead were civilians in the operations in Laghman.

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