EXCLUSIVE – List of 140 Afghan dead includes 93 children Reuters – Villagers look at the destruction caused after air strikes in Ganj Abad of Bala Buluk district, Farah …
By Hamid Shalizi Hamid Shalizi – Wed May 13, 5:35 am ET
KABUL (Reuters) – Ninety-three children and 25 adult women are among a list of 140 names of Afghans who villagers say were killed in a battle and U.S. air strikes last week, causing a crisis between Washington and its Afghan allies.
The list, obtained by Reuters, bears the endorsement of seven senior provincial and central government officials, including an Afghan two-star general who headed a task force dispatched by the government to investigate the incident.
Titled “list of the martyrs of the bombardment of Bala Boluk district of Farah Province”, it includes the name, age and father’s name of each alleged victim.
The youngest was listed as 8-day-old baby Sayed Musa, son of Sayed Adam. Fifty-three victims were girls under the age of 18, and 40 were boys. Only 22 were men 18 or older.
The U.S. military continues to dispute the toll and a military spokesman said some of the names could be fake.
The dispute over the number of dead has worsened tension between Washington and Kabul, despite apologies President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made during a visit to Washington by President Hamid Karzai last week.
The Afghan government has endorsed the list, and Karzai went on U.S. television to call for an end to all U.S. air strikes, only to be rebuffed by Washington. Afghan officials say the issue helps insurgents by turning the public against foreign forces.
Since last year, U.S. officials adopted new procedures for investigations of civilian casualties designed to ensure their statements agree with those of the Afghan government.
Nevertheless, Washington has continued to dispute the death toll. U.S. military spokesman Colonel Greg Julian said villagers had an incentive to invent names of dead relatives in the hope of collecting compensation