US report finds air strike errors in Afghan deaths

June 3rd, 2009 - 3:49 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 3 (ANI): A report that has been presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee has concluded that American air strikes in western Afghanistan on May 4 killed dozens of Afghan civilians.

The report quotes Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, President Obama’s nominee to be commander of American forces in Afghanistan, as testifying on Tuesday that the civilian death toll would probably have been reduced if American air crews and forces on the ground had followed strict rules devised to prevent civilian casualties.

Had the rules been followed, at least some of the strikes by American warplanes against half a dozen targets over a seven-hour period would have been aborted.

The report represents the clearest American acknowledgment of fault in connection with the attacks. It will give new ammunition to critics, including many Afghans, who complain that American forces too often act indiscriminately in calling in air strikes, jeopardizing the United States mission by turning the civilian population against American forces and their ally, the Afghan government.

Since the raid, American military commanders have promised to address the problem. (ANI)

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