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Page last updated at 21:03 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 22:03 UK

US admits problems in Afghan raid

Children from Bala Baluk district of Farah province recover at a hospital in Herat, 9 May
The civilian toll has caused public outrage in Afghanistan

The US defence department says troops in Afghanistan failed to follow proper procedures when they carried out air raids on Taliban militants last month.

The Afghan government has said that 140 civilians died in the US air strikes in the western province of Farah on 4 May.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell disputed that figure, but admitted there had been "problems" with tactics and procedures during the raids.

The findings of a US investigation into what happened are expected this week.

"There were some problems with some tactics, techniques and procedures, the way in which close air support was supposed to have been executed in this case," Mr Morrell said at a Pentagon news conference in Washington.

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He declined to discuss the inquiry's conclusion about how many civilians had died, but said they were "greatly outnumbered" by the number of Taliban killed in the military operation.

Civilian casualties are causing growing public outrage in Afghanistan and friction between the US and Afghan governments.

The incoming US commander in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal, has said civilian deaths must be reduced.



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