Villagers in Afghanistan Describe Chaos of U.S. Strikes
14 May 09 | NYT
The number of civilians killed by the American airstrikes in Farah Province last week may never be fully known. But villagers, including two girls recovering from burn wounds, described devastation that officials and human rights workers are calling the worst episode of civilian casualties in eight years of war in Afghanistan.
“We were very nervous and afraid and my mother said, ‘Come quickly, we will go somewhere and we will be safe,’ ” said Tillah, 12, recounting from a hospital bed how women and children fled the bombing by taking refuge in a large compound, which was then hit.
The bombs were so powerful that people were ripped to shreds. Survivors said they collected only pieces of bodies. Several villagers said that they could not distinguish all of the dead and that they never found some of their relatives.
Government officials have accepted handwritten lists compiled by the villagers of 147 dead civilians. An independent Afghan human rights group said it had accounts from interviews of 117 dead. American officials say that even 100 is an exaggeration but have yet to issue their own count. >>>