Bride And Groom Killed In
US Afghan Wedding Bombing


KABUL (Reuters) - Both the bride and groom were killed when U.S. forces bombed a wedding party in Afghanistan, a local aid agency said on Wednesday.
The Afghan government has said 40 people were killed, many of them women and children, and around 100 wounded when U.S. planes attacked a remote village in central Afghanistan in the early hours of Monday morning.
The government said wedding guests near the village of Deh Rawud were firing into the air -- a tradition in Pashtun weddings -- when they were mistakenly bombed.
The U.S. military says it responded to sustained, hostile fire from the ground and has launched a joint investigation with the Afghan government.
"The bride and groom were both killed," said Razique Samadi, managing director of the Afghan Development Association which has more than 40 staff in Uruzgan province where the attack took place.
"Our people on the ground said it was a mistake on both sides," he told Reuters. "The wedding guests knew there was a coalition operation going on in the area, still they fired their guns into the air, to celebrate the wedding."
Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah said on Tuesday an entire family of 25 people was killed.
"No single person was left alive," he said.
Samadi, whose association runs agriculture, irrigation and women's training projects in the rugged and mountainous province, said the family was a prominent one.
"The groom was a nephew of Mullah Anwar, who is famous in the province," he said. "Anwar is a friend of President Hamid Karzai."
Karzai expressed sadness over the incident and called on Afghans to refrain from using weapons to celebrate weddings.
The United States launched air strikes in Afghanistan last year against the al Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden, blamed for the September 11 attacks on Washington and New York, and the group's Taliban protectors.
Since then its ground forces have been searching Afghanistan for bin Laden and his followers, as well for Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, who was born in Uruzgan.
But there have been several incidents of casualties due to "friendly fire," some in Uruzgan.
U.S. bombing killed around 30 people in the provincial capital Tarin Kowt last October, officials and residents said.
U.S. forces also killed around 15 people in the same province in January in a firefight which they later admitted was "ill advised." Afghan officials said the Americans had mistakenly killed an anti-Taliban commander and many of his men.
In May, the U.S. army rejected reports it had mistakenly attacked a wedding party after the Afghan Islamic Press reported U.S. planes had pounded the village of Bul Khil in Khost province after mistaking traditional firing for an attack.


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