Archive for Friday, July 14, 2006

President orders probe into airstrike casualties

July 14, 2006

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— President Hamid Karzai ordered an investigation Thursday into reported civilian casualties during a coalition airstrike this week in which U.S. forces claimed more than 40 Taliban were killed.

The inquiry comes amid a massive anti-insurgent campaign by U.S.-led troops that has killed more than 700 people, mostly militants, since mid-May. Coalition airstrikes killed another 20 Taliban following a brazen insurgent attack on a military base in the volatile south.

Maulvi Muhayuddin Baluch, Karzai's adviser on religious affairs, said he was part of a five-member team ordered to probe Monday's clashes in the Uruzgan capital, Tirin Kot, where residents said at least four civilians, including children, were killed. At least six residents were wounded.

U.S. officials said they have no details on any civilian casualties or damage from Monday's operation, but are investigating the reports.

On Monday, the U.S. Air Force said a B-1B bomber plane dropped four "precision-guided munitions" on positions in Tirin Kot. A coalition statement said the Afghan and coalition forces had also traded small arms fire with militants, more than 40 of whom were killed, according to the military.

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