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Afghanistan: Nine Children Found Dead After Strike


Kabul, 7 December 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. military says nine children were found dead after a U.S. air strike on a suspected terrorist target in southeast Afghanistan. U.S. military spokesman Major Christopher West said an A-10 aircraft struck a site south of Ghazni where a "known terrorist" was believed to be hiding yesterday.

After the raid, coalition forces searching the area found the bodies of both the intended target and those of nine children. West said an investigation is under way.

The military said it regretted the loss of any innocent life.

News of the U.S. military raid comes after 18 people were wounded in a bomb blast yesterday on a market in the southeastern city of Kandahar. Afghan leader Hamid Karzai called the attack "cowardly." Local police chief Mohammad Hashim blamed the bombing on enemies of the Afghan government.

"It [the attack] has been carried out by the enemies of Afghanistan, those who are trying to disrupt the peace and stability in this country and they do not want our people to have a peaceful life," Hashim said.

Also yesterday, two Indian road engineers were kidnapped while travelling along the Kabul-Kandahar highway.

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