New York Times, September 7:
"The United States Central Command acknowledged tonight that scores of civilians were killed or injured in an American airstrike on a string of Afghan villages in July, but blamed Taliban fighters for placing women and children near valid miitary targets. . .
"'The ground location of the source of the fire was identified and fires were directed to that area,' the summary said. 'Just as the weapon itself is not seen, it is also not possible to determine if the fires from the AC-130 gunship have damaged or destroyed the weapon. Consequently, personnel at the weapon's location were the primary targets. Unfortunately, it is also not possible to distinguish men from women or adults from children.'"
New York Times, September 8:
"Russia punished several senior military commanders today for lapses that contributed to the crash of an overloaded military helicopter in Chechnya on Aug. 19, which killed 119 soldiers and civilians.
"Moving quickly to assign blame for the crash, the single worst loss of Russian lives in the second Chechen war, Defense Minister Sergei B. Ivanov announced that he had forced the resignation of the general in charge of army aviation and reprimanded at least four other generals . . . An investigation concluded that gross negligence had contributed to the death toll, if not the crash itself. Mr. Ivanov said a criminal investigation into the crash was still under way and could lead to criminal prosecutions.
"Russian officials have said a shoulder-to-air missile, evidently fired by a Chechen fighter, downed the helicopter, but most of the recriminations over the disaster have focused not on the Chechen rebels, but on Russian commanders."Posted by Jerome Doolittle at September 08, 2002 02:58 PM