Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wire: US Releases Report on Civilian Deaths in Farah Province

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2009 -- Newswire services this morning reported that in an official report on the deaths of dozens of Afghan civilians during U.S. airstrikes in western Afghanistan last month, the U.S. military acknowledges that a bomber crew dropped thousands of pounds of bombs on buildings that may have contained innocent civilians, along with Taliban fighters.

VOA News reported that a summary of the report issued late Friday says a bomber called in to help U.S. and Afghan ground forces during a battle with a strong Taliban unit "did not adhere to all of the specific guidance" required, and the violations "likely resulted in civilian casualties."

The 13-page executive summary -- available for download below -- describes an incident during which several U.S. aircraft struck Taliban forces moving through a village in Farah Province.

During bombing runs made after dark the report says enemy fighters fled into buildings and the aircrews did not know whether there were also civilians inside when they dropped their bombs.

"The inability to discern the presence of civilians and assess the potential collateral damage of those strikes is inconsistent with the U.S. government's objective of providing security and safety for the Afghan people," the report prepared by U.S. Central Command said.

The report recommends changes to training and procedures for operations with the potential to kill civilians.

(Report from newswire and CENTOM sources.)

Download: U.S. Central Command Investigation into Civilian Casualties in Farah Province (pdf)

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