NYT May 3, 2007
Afghans Say U.S. Bombing Killed 42 Civilians
By ABDUL WAHEED WAFA and CARLOTTA GALL
KABUL, Afghanistan, May 2 — Aerial bombing of a valley in western Afghanistan several days ago by the American military killed at least 42 civilians, including women and children, and wounded 50 more, an Afghan government investigation found Wednesday. A provincial council member who visited the site independently put the figure at 50 civilians killed.
President Hamid Karzai said at a news conference in Kabul that the Afghan people could no longer tolerate such casualties. “Five years on, it is very difficult for us to continue accepting civilian casualties,” he said. “It is becoming heavy for us; it is not understandable anymore.”
There have been several episodes recently in which civilians have been killed and foreign forces have been accused of indiscriminate or excessive force. That has prompted Afghan officials to warn that the good will of the Afghan people toward the government and the foreign military presence is wearing thin.
The government delegation reported that three villages were bombed last week in the Zerkoh Valley, 30 miles south of the western city of Herat, and 100 houses were destroyed and 1,600 people were now homeless, Farzana Ahmadi, a spokeswoman for the governor of Herat Province, said by telephone.
“The report says that some women and children were drowned in the river, and it was maybe in the heat of the moment that the children and people wanted to escape and jumped into the water,” she said. “This all happened just because of a lack of coordination between international forces and our forces.”
A provincial council member from Herat, Naik Muhammad Eshaq, who went to the area independently, said he had visited the three bombing sites and produced a list of 50 people who had died, including infants and other children under age 10. People were still digging bodies out of the rubble ..full text