US offers to pay for strike on Afghans

The US military has said it intends to pay $90,000 in compensation to families of victims of an air strike in May that killed at least 16 civilians in the south of Afghanistan, but only when security improves.

    Estimates differ on how many were killed in the May attack

    Colonel Tom Collins, a US military spokesman, issued the caveat on Wednesday when he said security would need to improve in the area of the Kandahar province where the attack took place before any compensation process could begin.

    Collins said the Afghan government and the US military put the toll from the air strike at 16, but local residents and a rights group say 37 people were killed by the attack on the village of Tulokan in the Panjwayi district on May 21-22.

    "Assistance to this village ultimately is based on when security conditions allow aid workers to enter the village. Taliban extremists continue to target aid workers in the area," the colonel said.

    Military raids

    Meanwhile US and Afghan forces raided compounds in the nearby Khost province that were suspected of providing sanctuary for al-Qaeda members.

    The US military said weapons and explosives were seized and eight people arrested.

    The compounds targeted in the pre-dawn raids near the villages of Paru Kheyl and Jabeh in the Yaqubi district were believed to be sanctuaries for "al-Qaeda facilitators", according to a military statement.

    "Credible intelligence linked the targeted terrorists to assisting foreign fighters and plotting improvised explosive device attacks against Afghan and coalition forces in Khost province," the statement said.

    Those captured were being questioned to determine their identities and "their level of involvement in known terrorist activities".

    Elsewhere, insurgents hit a Canadian base in southern Afghanistan with mortars, wounding six soldiers, a Canadian military spokesman said.

    The attack occurred in the Zhari district in southern Kandahar province on Tuesday, but none of the soldiers' injuries were life-threatening.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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