Findings Supports US Position

A just-completed coalition forces’ investigation into an air strike on targets in the Afghan town of Azizabad in Herat province on Aug. 22 supports US military assertions that the attack did not kill scores of civilians as some Afghan and UN officials have charged. Instead, Combined Joint Task Force-101 said in a release yesterday the coalition’s in-depth look found that 30 to 35 Taliban militants were killed in the attack, including possibly Taliban commander Mullah Sadiq, as were five to seven civilians. Last week, US military officials disputed claims that the strike had killed approximately 90 civilians, many of whom were children. The coalition investigation also confirmed that Afghan National Army and US forces approaching Azizabad responded only after taking fire from Taliban militants in the area. Further, the findings said the coalition’s response, including calling in close air support, was “in accordance with existing rules of engagement.” The results of this investigation have been provided to US Army Gen. David McKiernan, commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan, who last week called for a joint inquiry with the Afghan government and UN into this incident.