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US Military to Re-Investigate Afghan Civilian Deaths


A senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan says the military will re-investigate an operation last month that Afghans say killed scores of civilians.

General David McKiernan says new evidence has emerged in the joint U.S.-Afghan raid in the western province of Herat.

Western newspapers say the evidence includes mobile phone video of the aftermath showing scores of bodies laid out in a village mosque, including those of children.

McKiernan says the U.S. military will review its initial report that only seven civilians died in the August 22 raid.

In other news, the New York-based group Human Rights Watch issued a report today (Monday) saying civilian deaths in Afghanistan from U.S. and NATO airstrikes nearly tripled from 2006 to 2007.

The report says 116 civilians were killed in such strikes in 2006, and that figure increased to at least 321 in 2007.

It adds that Taliban militants contributed to civilian deaths by operating in populated villages and using civilians as "human shields."

Human Rights Watch also says insurgents killed more than 1,600 civilians in 2006 and 2007 combined.

Elsewhere, authorities say a roadside blast in southern Afghanistan Monday killed six civilians in Zabul province.

And, the Taliban claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings at police headquarters in the southern city of Kandahar that killed five people.


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