Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Air Strike Leaves 14 Dead in Helmand

KABUL, Afghanistan — The governor of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan on Sunday accused U.S.-led forces of killing at least 14 civilians in a bombing raid called in by besieged U.S. Marines.

Among the dead in the Saturday incident, according to a statement from the governor's office, were five girls, seven boys and two women.

The 14 were inside two houses that were struck by bombs or missiles after U.S. Marines came under attack at 8 a.m. in the Nawzad district of Helmand, the statement said.

At a press conference following the attack, President Karzai said Afghans' patience with air strikes had run out.

"The Afghan people can no longer tolerate these attacks on their homes and one day the Afghan government will be forced -- if you do not come to an understanding with us based on a negotiated solution to this, that is the prevention of the bombardment of Afghan homes -- the Afghan government will be forced to take unilateral action in this regard"

Many Afghans have been infuriated by graphic footage broadcast on Afghan television that showed grieving relatives holding the bodies of several children, including babies.

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