Footage of Slain Afghan Civilians Revives Inquiry Into U.S. Raid
Posted on Sep 8, 2008
Cell-phone footage shot by a doctor in a makeshift morgue in Azizabad, Afghanistan, showing rows of dead Afghan civilians, including several children, has led to a renewed inquiry into an American-led airstrike that occurred Aug. 22. American officials had previously insisted that only seven civilians had been killed in the attack, but they’re now having to face the possibility that the actual figure could be as high as 90.
General David McKiernan, the commander of Nato’s International Assistance Force (Isaf), ordered a fresh investigation led by a Pentagon general after footage was released on Sunday night. In a statement he said: “In light of emerging evidence pertaining to civilian casualties ... I feel it is prudent to request that US Central Command send a general officer to review the US investigation and its findings.”
The top-level review comes just days after he admitted there were “large discrepancies” among accounts of the death toll. American officials claim there were just seven civilians killed. The United Nations, the Afghan government and human rights groups said that the body count was closer to 90. Locals said most of the dead were women and children.
The damning footage was shot by a doctor who visited the morgue, in a building normally used as a mosque, on the morning after the attack on 22 August.
AP photo / Fraidoon Pooyaa
In this Aug. 23 photo, an Afghan woman and her daughter wail after a relative was killed in the airstrike in Azizabad, a village in the Shindand district of Herat province.