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Telegraph.co.uk, August 22, 2008

76 women and children 'killed by coalition forces in Afghanistan'

US-led coalition forces killed 76 civilians - including 50 women and 19 children - in a military operation yesterday, the Afghan government said.

By Isambard Wilkinson in Islamabad

US-led coalition forces killed 76 civilians - including 50 women and 19 children - in a military operation yesterday, the Afghan government said. The attack, which included air strikes, took place in the Shindand district of Herat province in the west of Afghanistan and an investigation is now underway, its interior ministry said in a statement.

Shendand airstike site
An Afghan man stands amid the rubble of houses which were destroyed in an airstrike in western Herat province, Afghanistan.

An Afghan woman mourns
An Afghan woman mourns the death of a relative. (Photos: Jalil Rezayee/EPA)

"Seventy-six people, all civilians and most of them women and children, were martyred during the operation by coalition forces," it claimed.

But the coalition said 30 insurgents and no civilians were killed in clashes and air strikes, which came in response to an ambush on Afghan National Army (ANA) and coalition troops as they were going to arrest a Taliban commander.

If the civilian death toll is confirmed it would be one of the highest in the international fight against the Taliban.

It comes at the end of a week of bloodshed in which 10 French soldiers were killed by insurgents in an ambush near Kabul on Monday. Nine more foreign soldiers have died since.

The worsening situation in Afghanistan has prompted accusations that the Pakistan military is failing to rein in elements sympathetic to the Taliban.

AFP, August 23, 2008: An Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission researcher visited Azizabad — the village in Herat province where the airstrikes took place early Thursday — and found 88 people had died, 15 houses were destroyed and others were damaged.


Afghan child wounded in the US airstrikes
An Afghan child, who was allegedly wounded by coalition airstrikes in the Zerko area of Shindand district stands with his father at a hospital in the city of Herat province southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan. (Fraidoon Pooyaa/AP)


Category: Women, US-NATO, Children, HR Violations - Views: 35434


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