Pentagon: Destroyed village was legitimate target
From Chris Plante
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Afghan village of Chowkar-Karez was attacked October 22 because it had been identified as a "Taliban encampment" that provided support to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network, Pentagon officials told CNN Thursday.
One official speaking on the condition of anonymity called the town a "fully legitimate target," saying "we hit what we wanted to hit."
It had been "positively identified (by the Pentagon) as a Taliban encampment including al Qaeda collaborators," the official said.
The town was attacked about 11:30 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) October 22 with torrents of withering fire from the AC-130 gunship, known in the military as "Spooky."
The humanitarian group Human Rights Watch reportedly "has details on 25 civilians killed in the village," the group said, but Pentagon officials take issue with the term "civilians" in the context of the military action in Afghanistan. The Pentagon contends that members of the Taliban and al Qaeda often do not wear uniforms and they further hold that the village provided support and refuge to terrorists.
"The people there are dead because we wanted them dead," the official said.
Members of the Taliban have claimed as many as 100 people were killed there.
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