Wire: Fierce Ground Battle Erupts in Afghanistan
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, May 5, 2009 -- Newswires reported this afternoon that bombing runs by U.S.-led coalition jets killed dozens of civilians taking shelter from a fierce ground battle between Taliban militants and Afghan and international forces, two Afghan officials said Tuesday.
The U.S. confirmed fighting Monday in western Afghanistan and said reports of civilian deaths were under investigation.
One Afghan official said villagers transported an estimated 30 bodies to a provincial capital to show officials. Other officials estimated the civilian toll to be between 70 and 100, according to an Associated Press report.
Estimates of the total number of dead varied widely, and no officials were able to travel to the area on Tuesday because the region is so dangerous.
The top U.S. spokesman in Afghanistan, Col. Greg Julian, confirmed U.S. coalition forces participated in the battle. Julian said several wounded Afghans sought medical treatment at a military base in Farah, but officials were still investigating the reports of civilian deaths.
This is a developing story with more to follow.
(Report from newswire and U.S. Forces Afghanistan sources.)
Source: Afghanistan: U.S.-Led Strikes Kill Dozens
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