Afghan Civilian Deaths Confirmed
The U.S. military has confirmed that an undetermined number of civilians were killed in airstrikes during a joint Afghan-U.S. operation against the Taliban on Monday. Neither U.S. nor Afghan forces have taken responsibility for any deaths, now estimated at 147. Human Rights Watch has called the attack “the largest and most tragic loss of life to U.S. bombs so far in Afghanistan.”
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The preliminary report said Taliban fighters herded Afghan villagers into houses to use as human shields while they fired on coalition forces in two villages in Farah. The report said that U.S. forces had responded to a call for help from Afghan forces and that militants attacked the troops from several locations.
Troops called for airstrikes on the militant positions, and a U.S. spokeswoman said Saturday that fighter aircraft made 13 passes over the two villages, using a combination of flares, strafing runs and bombs.
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