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U.S. will review Afghan inquiry

The military has 'new information' on an attack that Kabul says killed 90 civilians, including 60 children.

September 08, 2008|From Times Wire Services

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — The U.S. military said Sunday that it had "new information" about an American attack that Afghanistan says killed 90 civilians, and it was sending a senior military officer to the country to review its initial investigation that concluded no more than seven civilians died.

The military did not say what new information had emerged. But Afghan and Western officials say Afghanistan's intelligence agency and the U.N. both have video of the aftermath of the airstrikes on Azizabad village showing dozens of dead children.

An Afghan government commission has said 90 civilians -- 60 children, 15 women and 15 men -- died in the Aug. 22 bombings, a finding that the United Nations backed in its initial report.

But a U.S. investigation released Tuesday said only up to seven civilians and 35 militants were killed in the operation in the western province of Herat.

A U.N. official who has seen one video of Azizabad said it shows maimed children. The official became very emotional describing rows of bodies.

A second Western official has said one video shows bodies of "tens of children" lined up, and he called the video "gruesome." The two officials spoke on condition they not be identified because the footage had not been publicly released.

On Sunday, Army Gen. David D. McKiernan, the senior U.S. officer in Afghanistan and the commander of the 40-nation NATO-led mission, requested that an American general travel from U.S. Central Command in Florida to Afghanistan to review the U.S. investigation.

The New York Times reported on its website Sunday that one of its reporters had seen cellphone video of at least 11 dead children among about 30 to 40 bodies laid out in the village mosque. It also said Azizabad had 42 freshly dug graves, including 13 so small they could hold only children.

Also on Sunday, the deaths of a Canadian soldier and a Dutch soldier were announced. Sgt. Prescott Shipway of Shilo was killed and seven comrades were wounded Sunday when their armored vehicle struck a bomb while on patrol in southern Afghanistan, the Canadian government said. Soldier Jos ten Brinke was killed and five soldiers were wounded in a roadside bombing, the Dutch Defense Ministry said.

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