Karzai condemns US Strike That Killed 95, Fires Top General

Last Updated 8/24 6:00 PM EST

Following up on a previous story, hundreds of angry residents took to the streets of Azizabad, the small village in Herat province that was the site of what appears to be the largest incident of US-inflicted civilian casualties since the 2001 invasion, pelting Afghan troops with stones and destroying a police car and checkpoint. Shots were fired to disperse the crowd, and four people were reportedly wounded.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a statement strongly condemning the airstrike, whose toll government officials reported has risen to 95, most of which Minister Nematullah Shahrani reported were women and children. President Karzai reportedly called the strikes careless and uncoordinated, while another anonymous official is quoted as saying “it provides propaganda to the Taliban if they don’t take responsibility.” In a later decree, President Karzai announced the firing of General Jalandar Shah Behnam, the top ranking Afghan Army official in western Afghanistan.

On that front, the United States military has announced an investigation into the matter, though they claim to remain “very confident” that only 30 people had been killed, and all of them militants. This however contradicts a statement by NATO spokesman Brigadier-General Richard Blanchette, who said investigators had already verified that at least five civilians, three women and two children, were killed in the bombing.

The next day, White House Spokesman Tony Fratto expressed “regret” for the loss of life among Afghan civilians, while blaming the Taliban and militants for placing civilians “in harm’s way”

compiled by Jason Ditz

Author: Eric Garris

Eric Garris is webmaster and managing editor of Antiwar.com.