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U.S. admits mistakenly targeting Red Cross warehouse

By Jamie McIntyre
CNN Military Affairs Correspondent

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon Tuesday admitted it mistakenly targeted an International Red Cross warehouse in Kabul in its bomb attack on the city earlier in the day. One person was wounded inside the warehouse.

A Pentagon statement said 1,000-pound precision-guided bombs "inadvertently struck one or more warehouses used by the International Committee of the Red Cross" at 1:27 p.m. local time (4:57 a.m. ET). The statement said the bombs came from a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet.

The Pentagon said reports from the ICRC indicate that wheat and other humanitarian supplies stored in the warehouses were destroyed, and an Afghan security guard was wounded.

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"Although details are still being investigated, the ICRC warehouses were among a series of warehouses targeted by U.S. forces because the Taliban used them for storage of military equipment. Military vehicles had been seen in the vicinity of these warehouses. U.S. forces did not know that ICRC was using one or more of the warehouses," the statement said.

"There was an explosion and the warehouse was completely destroyed," said Mario Musa, an ICRC spokesman in Islamabad, Pakistan.

The agency said the building, which contained blankets, tarpaulins, and plastic sheeting, was destroyed. A second building containing food supplies caught fire and was partially damaged.

The compound is 2 km (1.2 miles) from the Kabul airport and is "clearly distinguishable from the air" because its roof is painted with a large red cross a white background, an ICRC statement said.

Musa said the ICRC compound was continuing to operate using a staff of Afghan nationals.

The Pentagon statement said that U.S. forces "intentionally strike only military and terrorist targets, and regret any innocent casualties."

"The U.S. is the largest donor of food and other humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, and U.S. forces are aggressive supporters of the worldwide effort to help the Afghan people," the Pentagon statement concluded.


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