Red Cross says US bombs hit civilians in Afghanistan

Original source:

Women and children were among the victims of a US air raid in Afghanistan, the Red Cross have confirmed.

The International Committee of the Red Cross reported on Wednesday that its officials had seen women and children among dozens of bodies in two bombed villages.

The first images from the bombings in Farah province emerged on Wednesday.

They showed villagers burying the dead in about a dozen fresh graves, while others dug through the rubble of demolished mud-brick homes.

A team from the international Red Cross travelled to Bala Baluk district in Farah on Tuesday, where the officials saw 'dozens of bodies in each of the two locations that we went to,' said spokeswoman Jessica Barry.

Former Bala Buluk district government official Mohammed Nieem Qadderdan said that between 100 and 120 people had been killed in the attacks.

He said villagers were still uncovering bodies, some of which were missing limbs or were torn into small pieces.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered an investigation into the killings and the US military sent a brigadier-general to Farah to head a US investigation. Afghan military and police officials were also part of the investigative team.

Provincial authorities have told villagers not to bury the bodies, but instead to line them up for the officials conducting the investigation to see.

Mr Karzai, who is currently in the US, will raise the issue of civilian deaths with US President Barack Obama. The two presidents were scheduled to hold their first meeting yesterday.

The bombings occurred after fighting broke out in the area on Monday. Provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar said 25 Taliban guerillas and three police officers had died in a battle near the village of Ganjabad in Bala Baluk district, a Taliban-controlled area near the border with Iran.

Villagers sheltered children, women and elderly men in housing compounds in the village of Gerani - about three miles to the east of the battleground - to keep them safe. But fighter aircraft later targeted those compounds, killing most of those inside.

A Western official in Kabul said US marine special operations forces called in the air strikes.

Villagers brought about 30 bodies to Farah city on Tuesday to show the governor.