KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFP) – An Afghan provincial legislator and villagers alleged Wednesday that US-led troops had killed several civilians in an air strike that hit a wedding.
Seven women and three children were admitted to hospital in the southern city of Kandahar with injuries said to be from the action in the Shah Wali Kot district on Tuesday.
Wali Karzai, the head of the Kandahar provincial council and brother to President Hamid Karzai, told AFP the strikes were launched after Taliban rebels attacked troops near a village where hundreds had gathered for a wedding.
Air strikes called in after the attack had hit the wedding in the village of Wocha Bakhto, he said.
“We are aware that civilians have died in air strikes conducted by foreign forces in Shah Wali Kot. But at this time we don’t know how many,” Wali Karzai said.
A spokesman for the US military in Afghanistan told AFP the claims were under investigation.
Afghan authorities would not comment on the allegations but the president later alluded to civilian casualties in Shah Wali Kot in a press conference in Kabul, although he did not give details.
An AFP reporter in the main hospital in Kandahar saw women and children being treated for various injuries including burns.
Two villagers accompanying them told reporters that dozens of villagers attending the wedding were killed and wounded when military warplanes bombed.
“Taliban attacked the troops. Then the troops bombed our village and killed scores of people. There are still people under rubble,” one, named Shah Mohammad, told AFP. This could not be confirmed.
There have been dozens of incidents in which international military air strikes against militants have killed and wounded ordinary Afghans, an issue of concern to the government as it tries to win support against a Taliban insurgency.