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US killed 97 Afghan civilians in two days: Probe

Press TV
May 27, 2009

A human rights group has confirmed that the United States used disproportionate force in its recent raids in Afghanistan and killed 97 civilians to get at two Taliban militants.

Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), which launched a probe into early May US-led air strikes in the country, announced Tuesday that 21 of the fatalities of the attacks were women and 65 were children.

"This was a reaction with extreme use of force to destroy a group of opponents, and would have been disproportionate even if they were there," Nader Nadery, a commissioner for the group, told a news conference in Kabul during the release of the report.

The US air strikes took place in the Bala Bulak district of Farah province in western Afghanistan on May 4 and 5.

The US military has put at less than 35 the number of civilians targeted in the attacks and says those killed were mostly Taliban militants. It also claims that the Taliban used the local population as human shields.

While confirming that 11 of those killed were men, Nadery said the group's investigation showed no evidence that any of the victims were armed or that they had been used as human shields.

The AIHRC said the numbers of people killed in the attacks were assessed through witness and medical reports. The probe concludes that around 100 people were killed in the two-day air strikes.

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