Taliban demand air strike inquiry

Taliban demand air strike inquiry

The Taliban have called for a UN and human rights investigation into an air strike in Afghanistan on Friday that left dozens of people dead, BBC reported.

The independent Afghanistan Rights Monitor group says up to 70 civilians died in the Kunduz province raid.

The air strike by US jets targeted fuel tankers hijacked by the insurgents.

The BBC's David Loyn in Kabul says the Taliban call is a change to its usual policy of opposing all foreign involvement in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, US forces are facing new criticism from a Swedish organisation which claims US soldiers forced their way into a hospital, searching for insurgents.

The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, which runs the hospital in Wardak province, says its employees were tied up by American troops who spent two hours scouring wards.

The aid group says this was a clear violation of international principles and made its humanitarian task more difficult.

The prevention of civilian casualties and protection of the Afghan population forms the centrepiece of a new military strategy for Afghanistan by the commander of US forces, General Stanley McChrystal.

Last week's overnight bombing attack in the far north of the country by American jets was called in by a German commander.

Afterwards Gen McChrystal made an unprecedented TV appeal to the Afghan people saying he took the loss of civilian life very seriously.

Our correspondent says no-one disputes that many Taliban fighters were killed when the two tankers were destroyed, but estimates of the number of civilian casualties have varied widely.

The Taliban statement claims 150 civilians died, many of them children of families who had come to siphon fuel from the tankers.

Meanwhile, three members of one family died in a rocket attack in the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday.

It comes a day after the latest partial results from last month's Afghan presidential election showed incumbent Hamid Karzai within touching distance of the 50% threshold needed to avoid a run-off ballot.

With three-quarters of votes counted, he had 48.6%, followed by Abdullah Abdullah with 31.7%.

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