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Afghan villagers say U.S. attack killed dozens

CNN staff members who drove to Chowker Korez, Afghanistan, said they found an unexploded bomb in the village, which is northwest of Kandahar.  

CHOWKER KOREZ, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Residents of this small Afghan village said dozens of people were killed and more than 20 wounded in an attack by U.S. forces Monday night.

The claims by families of the dead and wounded could not be independently verified. On Wednesday, CNN Afghan staffers drove to the village, which is on the edge of mountains 62 miles northwest of Kandahar. They said the village had been heavily damaged, and they saw one unexploded bomb.

Asked about the report during a press briefing on Wednesday, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Stufflebeem said the Pentagon does not have factual reports of what happened in the village.

"Once we have accurate information, we will always confirm what we have done, including if we've not done it correctly," Stufflebeem said. "But at this point, we just can't confirm what is being shown to us or described to us from on the ground."

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CNN staff who went to a Kandahar hospital said they saw several dismembered bodies wrapped in white body bags as well as a number of wounded people being treated.

One survivor had injuries on his back. A doctor treating the man said they were bullet wounds. Most of the people were Kuchis, nomads who often travel around Afghanistan in convoys. The survivors said most of the men in the village worked as mechanics in Kandahar but had moved their families out of the city to avoid the bombing campaign.

The relatives of the dead and wounded reported that the village was bombed Monday night. They said they heard two military aircraft, helicopters and machine gun fire.

Residents of a nearby village said they also heard bombs go off.

At a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Tuesday, Abdul Salam Zaeef, Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, said that a village had been bombed but gave no details.

The movements of CNN's Afghan staff are restricted to areas that the Taliban have designated. They have been limited to areas of reported civilian casualties. The staff has not been permitted to observe the aftermath of strikes on military targets.


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