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‘Scores die’ in Afghan village raid

Al-Jazeera | July 26, 2010

A Nato rocket attack on a village in Afghanistan last week killed 52 civilians, including women and children, the office of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has said in a statement.

Based on reports from the Afghan National Directorate of Security, a house in Regey village in Sangin district of the southern Helmand province was hit with a rocket launched by Nato troops on Friday. […]

Helicopter attack

Reports surfaced on Saturday that a helicopter gunship fired on villagers who had been told by fighters to leave their homes as a firefight with troops from Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) was imminent.

According to witness accounts, men, women and children fled to Regey village and were fired on from helicopter gunships as they took cover.

Abdul Ghafar, 45, told AFP, a French press agency, that he lost “two daughters and one son and two sisters” in the attack.

He and six other families fled to Regey, about 500 metres from their village of Ishaqzai, after being warned about the imminent battle, he said.

Men and women took shelter in separate compounds, he said, ahead of an expected firefight between Taliban fighers and Nato troops.

“Helicopters started firing on the compound killing almost everyone inside,” he said, speaking at the Mirwais hospital in Kandahar city.

“We rushed to the house and there were eight children wounded and around 40 to 50 others killed.” Ghafar said he took three girls and four boys to the Kandahar hospital.

He said: “Three of the wounded are my nephews and one is my son.

“One of the wounded children is four years old and has lost both parents.”

The BBC said it sent an Afghan reporter to Regey to interview residents, who described the attack and said they had buried 39 people.

Civilian casualties are an incendiary topic in Afghanistan, though surveys have shown that most are caused by Taliban attacks.

Colonel Wayne Shanks, an Isaf spokesman, said the location of the reported deaths was “several kilometres away from where we had engaged enemy fighters”.

Isaf forces had fought a battle with the Taliban, Shanks said, but an investigation team dispatched after the casualty reports emerged “had accounted for all the rounds that were shot at the enemy”.

“We found no evidence of civilian casualties,” he said.

July 26, 2010 - Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes

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