An investigation into airstrikes that slammed into Afghan homes where Taliban fighters sought shelter found that 62 insurgents and 45 civilians were killed, two Afghan officials said Sunday.
An investigating team was sent to Helmand province’s Gereshk district, where fighting took place between insurgents and Western forces late Friday, said Dur Ali Shah, the mayor of Helmand province’s Gereshk district, and Mohammad Hussein Andewal, the provincial police chief.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force has acknowledged some civilians were killed in the southern battle but has said the death toll was nowhere near as high as Afghan officials have claimed.
Because of the battle site’s remote location, it was impossible to independently verify the casualty claims. Afghan officials said fighter jets and ground forces were still patrolling the region and that the fighting continued into Saturday.
Meanwhile, a suicide attacker on foot blew himself up near a convoy of British forces in Gereshk district on Sunday, wounding several Afghans, an Associated Press reporter at the scene said.
The battle on Friday began when Taliban fighters tried to ambush a joint U.S.-Afghan military convoy, then fled to Hyderabad village for cover, said Helmand provincial Police Chief Mohammad Hussein. Airstrikes then targeted the militants in the village.
Civilian deaths have infuriated Afghans. President Hamid Karzai has condemned the forces for carelessness and viewing Afghan lives as “cheap.” He also has blamed the Taliban for using civilians as human shields.
So what Pres. Karzai want forces to do? I know that it’s a very difficult decision to make but does he want the UN forces not to respond to attacks when the Taliban just uses normal people as human shields so they think the UN forces are a bunch of pussies who have “compassion”=frailty for militants?
It’s a tough problem to solve.
But at least, he recognises they took the people as human shields. Something which is not widely recognised.