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US Plans Measures to Reduce Afghan Civilian Deaths


The United States is preparing to unveil plans designed to reduce the number of Afghan civilians dying in airstrikes against the Taliban.

The plans are contained in a long-awaited report on an incident in Afghanistan's Farah province in early May. Afghan officials have charged 140 civilians died in that airstrike.

The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal) said the report calls for U.S. troops to be given better training on the use of airstrikes. They also said it recommends the U.S. review the type of aircraft that are being used to carry out the airstrikes.

Still, the report concludes only about 30 civilians were killed in the Farah incident, along with more than 60 militants.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen are expected to discuss the report later Thursday.

Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned every civilian casualty is "a defeat" and "a setback."

The United Nations special representative to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, has also criticized the number of civilian deaths, saying they overshadow efforts to rebuild the country.

The new U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has been reviewing the tactics used by U.S. forces as well as the use of airstrikes.

Civilian deaths caused by U.S. and NATO troops battling the Taliban have become a major source of tension between the Afghan government and Western nations, particularly the United States.

The United Nations said almost 40 percent of the more than 2,000 civilians killed last year in Afghanistan died in U.S., NATO and Afghan military operations.

The U.S. is preparing to send another 21,000 troops to Afghanistan this year in its ongoing battle to defeat the Taliban.


Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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