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Afghanistan: U.S. Military Says Six Children Died In Air Raid

Kabul, 10 December 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. military today said six children and two adults were killed in a U.S. air raid in eastern Afghanistan on 5 December. Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Hilferty today told reporters U.S. soldiers discovered the eight bodies under a collapsed wall on 6 December after aircraft and ground troops attacked a compound east of the Paktiya provincial capital Gardez the previous evening.

"The next day, as we were trying to clear [the compound, we discovered] the bodies of two adults and six children under a collapsed wall. We don't know what caused the wall to collapse because, although we fired on the compound, there were secondary and tertiary explosions," Hilferty said.

Hilferty expressed regret for the deaths, but said it is impossible to eliminate such incidents. He said the U.S. military had information that Taliban leader Mullah Jilani had been hiding in the area. The spokesman said Jilani was not found, but that nine people were detained.

The U.S. military recently admitted to have mistakenly killed nine children on 6 December in an air attack against another suspected militant in neighboring Ghazni Province.