As many as 100 civilians die in Afghan raid

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Farah in western region of Afghanistan

Afghan officials warned that a United States raid had killed 100 people, "mostly civilians", in the Afghani province of Farah. Among the dead was a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and his family.

"Twenty-five to 30 of them are Taliban, including from Chechnya and Pakistan, and the rest are civilians including children, women and elderly people," said police official Abdul Rauf Ahmadi.

The governor of the province, Rohul Amin, said that he thought that as many as 100 civilians were killed in the raid.

A spokeswoman for the ICRC said the organization sent help to the region after being contacted by village elders. "When [our team] went to the first two villages where these incidents took place they saw dozens of bodies. They saw graves and they saw people being buried." ICRC officials also claim that they saw women and children among the dead.

The U.S government has said it is conducting a joint inquiry into the incident. State department spokesman Robert Wood, said in a statement: "Coalition forces and the Afghan government have received reports of civilian casualties in conjunction with a militant attack on Afghan National Security Forces in Farah Province on May 5."

Deputy provincial governor Mohammad Younus Rasouli said that villagers brought the bodies of 20 dead children to his office in the capital city of Farah as proof that the raid killed civilians.

Approximately 2,000 civilians were killed in fighting against the Taliban in 2008, the United Nations says.