[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
US raid 'kills Afghan civilians'
Scores of people killed in attack by US-led forces, according to Afghan officials.
Last Modified: 05 May 2009 17:57 GMT
Foreign forces have come under increasing
pressure to end civilian casualties [EPA]

Up to 50 civilians have been killed in an air raid by US forces in Afghanistan, according to Afghan officials.

The attack happened during a battle between Taliban fighters and joint Afghan-US-led forces in Farah province, local authorities said on Tuesday.

Villagers transported about 30 bodies to the provincial capital to show the governor, said Abdul Basir Khan, a member of Farah's provincial council.

Mohammad Nieem Qadderdan, the former top official in the district of Bala Baluk, told the Associated Press news agency about 10 houses had been destroyed in the attack.

'Children bombed'

He said: "These houses that were full of children and women and elders were bombed by planes.

"People are digging through rubble with shovels and hands.

"It is very difficult to say how many were killed because nobody can count the number, it is too early."

Belqis Roshan, a member of Farah's provincial council, said that fighting had broken out after Taliban fighters massed in the province near the village of Gerani.

Villagers put children, women, and elderly men in several housing compounds away from the fighting in order to keep them safe.

Increasing friction

But the villagers said fighter aircraft later targeted the compounds, killing a majority of those inside, Roshan and other officials said.

The villagers' claims were echoed by wounded villagers who travelled to Farah's hospital for care, with some saying many family members had been killed.

Colonel Greg Julian, the top US spokesman in Afghanistan, confirmed the attack, which took place on Monday, and said that reports of civilian deaths were under investigation.

Farah's provincial police chief said that "more than 25 Taliban" and three Afghan policemen died in the fighting.

He could not confirm the reports of civilian casualties.

Civilian deaths have caused increasing friction between the Afghan government and the US, which is fighting Taliban forces in the country having driven them from power in 2001.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.