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Afghan investigating team confirms killing 90 civilians by U.S. air strikes

By Xinhua,

Kabul : Afghan government’s investigating team into the case of killing civilians by U.S. air strikes in western Herat province has found that 90 non-combatants were killed in the raids on Aug. 22, a statement released by the Presidential Palace Sunday said.

The Minister for Haji and Religious Affairs and head of the investigation team Nimatullah Shahrani said that the air strikes left 90 civilians dead and injured six others while presenting his report to President Hamid Karzai.

“As a result of the air bombardments in Azizabad and Nawabad villages of Shindand district on Aug. 22, a total 90 civilians including 15 men, 15 women and 60 children ranging from one to 18 years old were killed,” Shahrani said in the report.

Shahrani also said that eight houses were completely destroyed and seven others were partly damaged in the air strikes which lasted for six hours.

“The locals had shown the body parts of the victims including hands, legs and heads of those killed in the tragic incident to the investigating team,” said Shahrani.

The U.S.-led Coalition forces also took with themselves five more civilians after the bloody operation, the statement said.

Based on the information of the locals, the investigation team stressed there were no militants in the areas where the air raids were carried out.

Both the Coalition forces and Afghan defense ministry at the beginning disputed the claim, saying 25 insurgents and five civilians were killed in the raid.

The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) after investigating the case last week confirmed the dead of 90 civilians in the bombardments and called on warring sides to respect the rights of non-combatants.

The Afghan cabinet also called for regulating the authority and responsibilities of international troops in the war-torn country after the huge civilian casualties in western Herat province.