The U.S. has denied that it killed 90 civilians in an airstrike in Herat province in Afghanistan on August 21.
President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack and United Nations officials have said that there is “convincing evidence” that the airstrike killed at least 90 civilians, including 60 children.
The Pentagon dismissed the criticism as “outrageous” and insisted that the attack “was a legitimate strike on a Taliban target.”
Last week, the Pentagon held a news conference saying that it had completed a review of the strike and found that 25 militants had been killed, including a Taliban commander. 5 civilians had also been killed in the strike, according to the Pentagon account.
Haji Gul Ahmed, a resident of Azizabad, the village where the airstrike ocurred, told the Washington Post, “All of my relatives were killed in this bombing — my cousins, my uncles, nieces, nephews, two of my daughters and my son.” He and other villagers counted at least 75 residents who had been killed. “It was difficult for us to get to the bodies and to bury them. We buried five children in one grave and four children in another grave.”
In May, according to Afghan officials, 42 civilians were killed in Herat province, including women and children.
The reported number of Afghan civilian deaths in the first half of 2008 is 255. Three airstrikes in July alone are reported to have killed as many as 78 civilians, including a July 6 attack that killed 27 people at a wedding party.