al Jazeera – “Dispute Over Deadly US Afghan Raid” – 27 Jan 09 (2:46):
A claim by US forces in Afghanistan that they killed 15 Taliban fighters in the eastern province of Laghman, has been disputed by village elders.…
One of the attackers killed in the initial fight was later identified as female, the US military statement said.
But Abdul Rahmzai, head of the provincial council in Laghman, said village elders had told him in the hours after the raid that those killed were civilians.
Rahmzai relayed questions from the Associated Press news agency to the village elders directly, who responded by saying that swear on the Quran that all those killed were innocent.
They said that women and children were among the dead, and told Rahmzai that they have no link to Taliban fighters.
Independent assessment by journalists and human-rights monitors of the competing claims is complicated by the level of danger in the territory to unarmed outsiders….
In the immediate wake of a battle in August in the village of Azizabad, the US military said no civilians were killed.
Eventually a US investigation found that 33 civilians had been killed in that raid.
The Afghan government and the UN said that 90 civilians died in the incident.
Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, said last week that the US and countries serving in the Nato military alliance are continuing air raids in civilian areas, despite his call for them to stop….
US marines are ready to leave Iraq quickly so that 20,000 soldiers can be sent to Afghanistan, James Conway, Marine Corps commandant, said on Friday.
New York Times – “Fighting The Taliban, Losing The War” – 26 Jan 09 (3:48):