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Weeping women curse US after bombing carnage

July 07, 2002

DEHRAWAD (Afghanistan), July 6: Women beat their chests and wept at a fresh grave in this remote central Afghan district Saturday as they cursed Americans for a bomb attack that wiped out a wedding party.

Three women ran towards an AFP correspondent visiting a cemetery in Dehrawad’s Kakrakai village, screaming that they lost a sister, a newly-wed who was cut down in the Sunday night US air attacks here.

“This is what we get from the Americans,” the women shouted hysterically. “There is a new bride buried here. Do the Americans care? They will be punished.”

At another burial site, an elderly man was trying to find the grave of his seven-year-old daughter who had been blown to pieces and probably buried in a mass grave.

An AFP correspondent visiting five grave sites in and around Kakrakai counted 22 fresh graves.

Villagers said the remains of another 20 people were buried in two mass graves.

A joint US-Afghan investigating team Wednesday and Thursday reported that they found blood, but no bodies at one of several bombed sites, according to US military spokesmen.

The top US general leading the coalition campaign in Afghanistan, Lieutenant-General Dan McNeill, said a more thorough investigation was needed.

“I believe there’s 48 dead and 117 wounded,” McNeill told a joint press conference with Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah while emphasising that the figures were those of Afghan investigators.

One of the men killed in the air-raid was Mohammad Sharif, a man who had helped Afghan President Hamid Karzai during his life-threatening mission last October into then Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

He protected Karzai as he was pursued by the Taliban while he attempted to raise a rebellion against the zealots, as the US launched its military campaign to wipe them out.

It was one of Sharif’s sons who was to be married two days later. The groom-to-be survived because he was in a separate house to the rest of the wedding party, as local wedding traditions demand.

Sharif’s brother, Mohammad Anwar, was away in Kandahar where he is a government-appointed military commander.

Anwar spent Saturday at a local mosque receiving villagers who flocked to condole with him for the loss of some 25 members of his extended family.—AFP