US Strike on Taliban Left 95 Kids Dead: Afghan Officials

Total toll said to be 140, but US disputes claim
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 13, 2009 9:26 AM CDT
Afghan students of Kabul University, holding photos of the aftermath of airstrikes, shout anti-US slogans during a demonstration May 10, 2009.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Ninety-five children are among the 140 people said to have died in US airstrikes last week aimed at the Taliban in western Afghanistan, according to a list compiled by Afghan officials. If the toll is correct, the AP reports, it marks the highest number of civilian deaths since 2001. The US disputes the claim, saying “there is no physical proof that can substantiate” the figures.

Afghans blame US airstrikes for the carnage in two villages in Farah province May 4-5. But the US rep said militants are to blame because they kept villagers hostage during the fight. He said condolence payments to victims’ families might encourage high toll numbers. “It’s very difficult to determine an exact number and there's a climate that encourages exaggeration,” he noted. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)