Sunday, July 06, 2008

Afghanistan: Missile strikes 'wedding party'

At least 20 dead in Afghan strike

AP quotes "a man at the hospital" as the source of "the wedding party" info. That's some source you got there, AP.

At least 20 people have been killed in a missile strike by coalition forces in Afghan's eastern Nangarhar province. Local people say that the group was a wedding party and most of the dead were women and children. But the US has said that those killed were militants involved in previous mortar attacks on Nato base.

Meanwhile Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered an investigation into a missile attack by US helicopters on Friday in which 15 people died.

Deh Bala district governor Hamisha Gul told AFP news agency that 22 people had been killed in the strike - 19 of them women and children. He said the information had come from police and other officials investigating the incident in the remote area.

A man at the hospital in Jalalabad told AP news agency that the group were a wedding party on their way to the groom's house. "They stopped in a narrow location for rest. The plane came and bombed the area," he said. "There were between 80 to 90 people altogether. We have carried six of the injured to this hospital, and more might be coming. The exact number of casualties is not clear."

However, US military personnel have denied that the group were civilians.

Coalition media officer Captain Christian Patterson told AFP they had received no reports of civilian casualties. "It was not a wedding party, there were no women or children present," he said.