US Airstrike Killed 30 Afghan Civilians: Inquiry

Outraged Afghans still maintain 90 died in controversial Aug. raid
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2008 1:26 PM CDT
An AC-130H/U gunship, like one used in the raid.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 6 more images

(Newser) – A US military inquiry puts the number of Afghan civilians killed in an August 22 raid at more than 30, the New York Times reports, down from the 90 the Afghan government had claimed. The airstrike on Azizabad, a suspected Taliban stronghold, was condemned by the Afghan government. The US had initially said that only 5 to 7 innocents were killed, and continues to consider the operation legitimate.

The inquiry, led by an Air Force general, was requested by the top US commander in Afghanistan in early September after news of the civilian deaths broke. An official familiar with the report said the original number was low because the Special Forces troops who called in the airstrike could not make a thorough assessment at the time. “They were definitely not welcome there,” he said.