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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 July 2006, 18:31 GMT 19:31 UK
Bombing 'killed Afghan civilians'
Afghan children pick up sweets thrown from a US vehicle
Concern is mounting about the vulnerability of civilians
A US-led bombing raid in southern Afghanistan killed 10 civilians, an Afghan government inquiry has found.

Presidential spokesman Karim Rahimi told the BBC that 27 other civilians had been hurt in last week's attack on a village in Uruzgan province.

He said about 50 Taleban fighters had been killed. Many of the dead civilians were women and children, he said.

President Hamid Karzai has regularly urged US-led forces to be more careful when carrying out air strikes.

The president has always said civilian casualties should be prevented and has been urging coalition forces to be careful
Presidential spokesman Karim Rahimi

Civilians have been killed in a number of coalition bombing raids since the Taleban were ousted in 2001.

The BBC's Bilal Sarwary says this latest incident puts President Hamid Karzai in a difficult position because his repeated calls for the coalition to take greater care appear to have had little effect.

'Co-operation'

Mr Karzai ordered the investigation a week ago when the claims of civilian casualties in the attack near Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan province first surfaced.

BBC map

His spokesman said the special commission had concluded that three houses in the village had been destroyed in the bombing.

One belonged to a local man, called Sher Jan, in whose house Taleban members are said to have been meeting at the time of the air attack.

Coalition forces are thought to have acted on this intelligence in launching the bombing raid.

Mr Rahimi said: "The house (of Sher Jan) was bombed by coalition forces. About 50 Taleban were killed, including nine commanders.

"Unfortunately, 10 civilians were killed. Twenty-seven other people were injured, among them children and elderly men and women.

"The president has always said civilian casualties should be prevented and has been urging coalition forces to be careful."

The commission had recommended that coalition forces should co-operate closely with Afghan forces, Mr Rahimi said.

It was also urging Afghans not to let the Taleban use their houses, mosques or shrines "for terrorist activities", he added.

Mr Karzai has ordered another investigation after British forces called in US air support after fighting off a sustained attack on a local government compound they were defending in the village of Nawzad.

They said there was no evidence that civilians had been killed, and the bombing raids were necessary because of the severity of the fighting with the Taleban.


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