It was another fight at close quarters in Afghanistan between US/Coalition forces and the Taliban. The fighting became fierce and a decision was made to call in an air strike at the insurgents. According to a spokesman: “there was an insurgent attack on an ANA group and the ANA called for assistance, ands some coalition troops joined them to help fight this group. There was close air support.” Unfortunately, in the hectic struggle, an air strike when there are civilians in the vicinity always carries the risk of mistakes. In this case, the mistake was massive. Afghan officials estimate at least thirty and maybe up to a hundred civilians died in the air strike on Bala Baluk, a Taliban controlled area in Farah province near the border with Iran.
There are reports villagers bought truckloads of bodies, many of them women and children to the provincial capital. One report indicated civilians had gone to the village of Gerani to escape the fighting and then were bombed as they sheltered in what they thought was a safe area.
There will be an investigation, an apology, and compensation for families of the dead. The basic issue is there are insufficient Afghan, US and Coalition forces to keep fighting on the ground. Each air strike carries with it the danger of another massacre of the innocent.