Video shows Taliban was target of raid where civilians killed

Washington Times:

Video footage of a bombing raid by U.S. forces earlier this month on a village in western Afghanistan "very clearly" shows that Taliban militants were targeted and it accounts for most of those killed, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East and South Asia said Friday.

"What the video will prove is that the targets of these different strikes were the Taliban," Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of Central Command, told National Public Radio.

Gen. Petraeus' assertion stands in contrast to testimony by locals that militants had left the area several hours before the May 4 bombardments in Farah province's Bala Boluk district, as well as an independent report from a leading rights group that a limited number of Taliban may have been present.

The Afghan government claims that at least 140 people died, including 95 children. If confirmed, this would amount to the largest number of civilians killed in a military action here since U.S.-led forces ousted a Taliban government in 2001.

In the three weeks since the incident, anti-American demonstrations have risen amid official calls for a review of U.S. operations in Afghanistan.

Asked how the figures in the video were identified, Gen. Petraeus said their status was corroborated by intelligence reports and other sources and "then confirmed by this actual video."

The U.S. military said last week that footage taken from a B-1 Bomber showed two groups of about 30 people entering village homes before they were hit with 2,000-pound bombs. A spokesman for U.S. forces said that "other information" that could not yet be released proved they were Taliban fighters.

According to Gen. Petraeus, the Pentagon plans to release the video at press briefing in the near future.

...

What is also needed is an explanation of why the villagers and Afghan officials were lying about the Taliban not being there. It is also not clear to me why there is a further delay in releasing the video.

I suspect that some of the corroboration on the Taliban presence was though the intercept of their communications. It is understandable why they would not want to confirm that.

What is needed is an explanation of the enemy strategy of causing civilian casualties in an effort to make us hesitant to use air power to defeat him. They could use some of the Taliban's spokesman's own statements in showing a deliberate strategy to cause civilian deaths.

That of course could be followed up by human rights wackos suing the Taliban--not. See the post below where they are making a threat to sue the US for targeted UAV attacks against al Qaeda and Taliban leadership.

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