Afghans Say Dozens of Civilians
By Alladuddin Khan
The Associated Press
Thursday 26 October 2006
Lay Kundi, Afghanistan - Dozens of civilians were killed during NATO airstrikes in a volatile area of southern Afghanistan that was once the heartland of the Taliban, the Afghan government and villagers said Thursday.
NATO said a preliminary review found only 12 civilian deaths, but the Afghan Interior Ministry and local officials estimated between 40 and 85 civilians were killed in fighting in three separate villages.
If the death toll given by local leaders and residents from Tuesday's fighting is confirmed, it would be the highest from an operation involving Western forces since the US-led invasion in 2001.
In the city of Kandahar, east of the fighting, hundreds of mourners attended a mass funeral Thursday for victims of Tuesday's violence.