07 May 2009
from Danger Room by Noah Shachtman
Did the Taliban stage a slaughter of dozens, to make U.S. forces in Afghanistan look like butchers? That’s what American military officials are implying in response to claims that coalition airstrikes killed dozens of civilians taking shelter from fighting between Taliban militants and international troops in Afghanistan’s Farah Province.
The International Committee of the Red Cross reported dozens of dead, but Gen. David McKiernan, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, suggested that the deaths may not have been caused by airstrikes. McKiernan told reporters in Kabul: “We have some other information that leads us to distinctly different conclusions about the cause of these civilian casualties.”
An anonymous defense official took things a bit further, telling the Washington Post’s Greg Jaffe: “the Taliban went to a concerted effort to make it look like the U.S. airstrikes caused this.”