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Bush offers condolences to Afghan people


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush offered his condolences Tuesday to the Afghan people for the innocent civilians killed in Monday's incident during a military operation in central Afghanistan.

White House press secretary Ari Fleischer issued the following statement:

"The president is concerned about reports from Afghanistan that innocent lives were lost in the conduct of joint U.S.-Afghan military operations in Oruzgan province today. We do not yet know exactly what happened and we are working very hard to find out. A joint U.S.-Afghan investigation team arrived in Oruzgan today [Tuesday] and has already begun [its] fact-finding mission. [Its] findings will result in a comprehensive report.

"On behalf of the American people, the president extends his deep condolences for the loss of innocent life no matter what the cause is determined to be. In the meantime, we are consulting with Afghan authorities on the humanitarian needs of the people in the area.

"The Afghan people have played a critical role in our joint war against terrorism. The United States greatly appreciates their support in this vital struggle. Working together, our nations have made important progress in defeating terrorism and we have given Afghanistan the hope of a better tomorrow. The United States is committed to helping Afghanistan's new government ensure that the country is never again a haven for terror. We are actively supporting Afghanistan's efforts to provide for its own security and to rebuild after decades of war and oppression. The United States is determined to work in partnership with Afghanistan to see these efforts through in the months and years ahead."




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