Published on Thursday, August 11, 2005 by the BBC
US Bomb 'Kills Afghan Civilians'
At least four Afghan civilians were killed and many more wounded in a US bombing raid in the southern province of Zabul, locals and officials say.
Governor Ali Khail told the Associated Press US-led forces had made a mistake and villagers were among casualties.
The US said one of its soldiers and "at least 16 enemy forces" were killed in fighting in the area on Monday.
US forces said on Thursday that another US soldier and six militants had died in fighting in Paktika province.
Last month, the US military said it regretted that civilians had been killed in an air strike by US forces in eastern Konar Province.
'Why are they killing us?'
Three members of the same family from the village of Rauf in Zabul Province's remote district of Deh Chopan are reported to be among the dead.
Local woman Sadia Bibi, 50, told the Associated Press that her brother, his wife and their 16-year-old son had been killed in the bombing.
"The children were crying and they were very afraid. These planes killed my relatives. We are poor and innocent people. Why are they killing us?" she asked.
Her daughter and her one-and-a-half-month-old grandson are being treated by doctors in the provincial capital, Qalat, a few hours drive away.
Ms Bibi said they had injuries to their hands and legs after being struck by pieces of bricks during the bombardment.
A fourth victim from Rauf, a woman, died on Thursday morning after being transferred to Kandahar for treatment, the BBC's Mirwais Afghan says.
Two other women also taken to Kandahar in a critical condition are said to be stable.
Abdul Malik, a doctor at Qalat's hospital, said: "We have received six wounded people from the bombing and they say that three civilians died."
The US military said it did not believe there had been civilian casualties.
"My understanding is that our intelligence shows no civilians in this area. We don't have any assessment of any civilians in this area," US military spokeswoman Lt Cindy Moore told reporters.
Observers say the number of civilians killed in Rauf could be higher. Locals say there were 18 casualties, but it is still unclear if more than four were killed.
Complex of caves
The death of the US soldier in south-eastern Paktika Province brings to six the number of US troops killed in the past week in Afghanistan. Another was wounded in the clash.
In a separate incident, US forces said six insurgents were killed near the border with Pakistan.
Three US soldiers and their Afghan interpreter were wounded in the clash.
The fighting took place in a complex of caves on Tuesday after Afghan and US forces encountered the militants during a patrol.
Escalating violence mainly in southern and eastern Afghanistan has seen some 800 people, including 41 US troops, killed this year.
© 2005 BBC MMV