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U-N Not To Release Its Probe on U-S Air Strike on Afghan Village - 2002-07-30


The United Nations says it will not release the findings of its investigation into a U-S air strike on an Afghan village that local Afghans say killed 48 civilians celebrating a wedding.

U-N officials instead handed over the report to the Afghan and U-S governments, both of which are conducting their own investigations into the incident. The report was prepared by U-N investigators sent to the site of the July 1st air strike.

The United Nations' decision comes after the Times of London newspaper said a U-N draft report says the United States may have covered up and removed evidence related to the controversial attack.

But U-N officials in Kabul said the draft report was not fully documented and any conclusions drawn from it can not be described as "sufficiently substantiated."

A U-S military spokesman at Bagram Air Base (Roger King) denied that coalition forces had removed any evidence from the scene. However, a U-S fact finding team that went to the village in Uruzgan province in central Afghanistan to probe the incident a few days later collected several samples for its investigation.

According to the Times, the U-N draft report was also unable to corroborate U-S statements that the AC-130 gunship involved had come under surface-to-air fire, explaining that it found no destroyed weaponry or ammunition at the scene of the attack. U-S military officials have insisted the gunship came under direct hostile fire from the ground. Local Afghans reported that the casualties came during a wedding celebration, during which it is traditional to shoot guns in the air.

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