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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK
Afghan anger over bombing probe
The AC-130 delivers withering firepower to the ground
Afghanistan's newly created Human Rights Commission has called for a preliminary report into the bombing of a wedding party by US forces to be made public now.

Investigators see the results of the attack
US investigators have said their joint inquiry with Afghanistan into last week's attack will not be available for several weeks.

But the new commission has said that civilians are falling victim to the fighting which they hoped would end a long time ago and the US must take sufficient precautions to protect civilians.

The Afghan Government says 48 people were killed and 117 wounded in the raid on villages in the province of Uruzgan in central Afghanistan.

It seems to me that the Americans already have documentary evidence of the attack

Ivan Watson, NPR

The Americans say an AC-130 gunship attacked after four anti-aircraft guns were seen firing at US planes, including from the compound where the wedding party was hit.

They say that their investigators have been having trouble getting further information, and have denied wasting time in the hope that the story will go away from the headlines.

But villagers from the isolated Uruzgan province have told US reporters the Americans already have details of the incident.

House damaged in US raid
Afghan casualties

Estimates range from 1,000 to 8,000. Figures include:

  • 10 October 2001: 76 reported killed in US raids
  • 13 October: Pentagon admits 2,000lb bomb hit residential area of Kabul
  • 15 October: UN reports five killed when bomb fell near market in Mazar-e-Sharif
  • 16 October: Red Cross warehouse in Kabul accidentally bombed
  • 22 October: Taleban claim 50-70 killed when bombs struck Kabul hospital

  • A reporter from the American network National Public Radio (NPR) says locals gave him detailed and consistent reports of American officials arriving just hours after the raid, taking photographs, filming the scene and the bodies and making lists of the names of the victims.

    NPR's Ivan Watson told the BBC: "The villagers gave me a detailed account of US soldiers coming into the village, first setting up checkpoints, blocking people's departure.

    "Then at least 10 men matching the description of US special forces, accompanied by soldiers of Gul Agha, the governor of Kandahar, took pictures and videos and interviewed villagers.

    "It seems to me that the Americans already have documentary evidence of the attack."

    He added: "The village looked as if it had been strafed - there were hundreds of bullet holes - trees were torn apart, clothes from the wedding guests were lying about and food was rotting."

    The villagers also told him that there were no anti-aircraft guns in the compound where the partygoers died and it would have been clear that it was a civilian celebration.

    Assassination arrests

    The Americans have said there will be no cover-up and the results of the investigation - when it is finished - will be made public.

    General Dan McNeill, the head of American troops in Afghanistan, insisted last week that there would be no attempt, in his words, to sweep the matter under the rug.

    General Dan McNeill
    General Dan McNeill: No cover-up

    The bombing inquiry is going on as Afghans mourn Vice-President Haji Qadir, who was assassinated in Kabul on Saturday.

    Mr Qadir was buried with military honours in his home city of Jalalabad on Sunday. Thousands of people followed the coffin as it travelled through the city on a gun carriage.

    Interior Minister Mr Qadir was shot several times as his car left his office in Kabul. His son-in-law - who was driving - was also killed.

    Afghan police have arrested 12 people including 10 guards at the public works ministry where Mr Qadir was shot, but say they are no nearer to finding a motive.

    The BBC's Kate Clark in Kabul
    "The US has admitted killing civilians"

    Key stories

    European probe


    See also:

    02 Jul 02 | South Asia
    04 Jul 02 | South Asia
    02 Jul 02 | South Asia
    20 Oct 01 | Americas
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