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Tuesday, 12 February, 2002, 17:00 GMT
Afghans count cost of US bombing
A B-52 bomber carrying out carpet bombing
The US stands accused of bombing civilians
Kate Clark

An Afghan non-governmental organisation has begun the task of assessing how many civilians were killed, injured or lost property in the recent American bombing campaign in the country.

In two provinces alone it has documented 69 civilian deaths.

Afghans inspect a house damaged by US air strikes in Kabul
Some are calling for Afghans to be compensated
All were killed since the rout of the Taleban from the Afghan capital, Kabul, in November.

I have stood watching American B-52 planes bomb civilian targets in Afghanistan, ringing the Pentagon from a satellite telephone to ask why they were bombing people's homes.

"We are not allowed to give out operational information" I was repeatedly told before hanging up in frustration.

Mounting pressure

But the pressure in now increasing on the Pentagon to provide some answers.

For the first time a detailed list has been compiled of civilian victims in two of Afghanistan's provinces to the south of Kabul.

One of the oldest Afghan aid agencies, Aria, has conducted face-to-face interviews and taken photographs of families who have fallen victim to American bombing since the fall of Kabul in mid-November.

In the worst incident 50 people were killed in one village.

Incomplete picture

Aria has so far only documented victims in two out of the 13 provinces which were bombed - but even there the list is not complete. Some places are still restricted or are still being bombed.

The Pentagon is still having to respond to allegations made by former Afghan prisoners that they were badly beaten while in American detention.

On Wednesday morning a US human rights organisation, which has been working with victims here and victims of the 11 September attacks in America, will make a public plea for compensation for Afghan victims of the US military campaign.

The group is due to hold a news conference outside the recently opened American embassy in Kabul.

See also:

11 Feb 02 | Americas
US probes Afghan missile strike
06 Feb 02 | South Asia
Afghan leader says US bombed civilians
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