The US military is backing off its previous claims that the Farah airstrike, which Afghan officials are now saying killed 147 civilians, was entirely manufactured by the Taliban and the US attacks only destroyed homes full of already dead bodies.
Now officials are conceding that “at least some of the casualties were caused by the air strikes.” Though they have yet to completely rule out the convoluted Taliban conspiracy whereby they massacred hundreds of civilians with hand grenades, stuffed their bodies into civilian homes then tricked the United States into bombing them, one official admitted the claims were “thinly sourced.”
The bombing now stands as the worst single case of US-caused civilian deaths since the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. It has surpassed by a wide margin the previous record, the August 2008 bombing in Herat which killed around 90 civilians. In that case too the military claimed the reported toll was a Taliban plot, ultimately going nearly two months before admitting to a significant portion of the killings. Even then, they insisted the truth had simply “changed” and that the killings were “legitimate self-defense.”