Page last updated at 22:38 GMT, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 23:38 UK

US admits higher Afghan raid toll


The video thought to show victims of the attack was apparently recorded on a mobile phone

A US military inquiry has found that an air strike on militants in western Afghanistan on 22 August killed many more civilians than first acknowledged.

US Central Command said 33 civilians, not seven, had died in the village of Azizabad in Herat province.

While voicing regret, it said US forces had followed rules of engagement.

Officials from the UN and the Afghan government say up to 90 people - including 60 children - died in the strike on Azizabad.

Video footage, apparently of the aftermath of the raid, showed some 40 dead bodies lined up under sheets and blankets inside a mosque.

The majority of the dead captured on the video were children, babies and toddlers, some burned so badly they were barely recognisable.

US forces had originally said seven civilians were killed in a "successful" US raid targeting a Taleban commander in Azizabad.

Announcing the findings of US Central Command's inquiry, Lt Gen Martin Dempsey said that US forces had acted on credible intelligence, in self-defence and in line with rules of engagement.

The US forces had called for air support during the operation with Afghan troops, after they were fired upon from a suspected Taleban compound.

Lt Gen Dempsey said that 22 insurgents had also been killed in the attack.

"We are deeply saddened at the loss of innocent life in Azizabad," he added.

"We go to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties in Afghanistan in all our operations, but as we have seen all too often, this ruthless enemy routinely surround themselves with innocents."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific