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Pentagon acknowledges US bombs hit Red Cross warehouse

October 16, 2001

A US Navy fighter mistakenly dropped 1,000-pound bombs Tuesday on one or more warehouses used by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul because they were believed to store military equipment, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

"Although details are still being investigated, the ICRC warehouses were among a series of warehouses targeted by US forces because the Taliban used them for storage of military equipment," the Pentagon said in a statement.

"Military vehicles had been seen in the vicinity of these warehouses. US forces did not know that ICRC was using one or more warehouses," the statement said.

It said a Navy F/A-18 dropped GBU-16 1,000 pound bombs on one or more of the warehouses at approximately 4:57 am (0857 GMT).

"US forces intentionally strike only military and terrorist targets, and regret any innocent casualties," the statement said.

An Afghan staff member was serious injured when an ICRC warehouse filled with relief supplies was hit, Robert Monin, the head of the ICRC delegation in Afghanistan, said in Islamabad.

It was the second time in less than a week that the Pentagon has had to report that one of its bombs went astray, causing civilian casualties.

Civilian casualties have fueled anti-American protests in neighboring Pakistan and aroused criticism of the US air campaign in Moslem world.

On Saturday, the Pentagon said a 2,000 pound satellite-guided bomb hit Kabul residential area about a mile from its intended target, a military helicopter at Kabul airport. Four people were reported killed and eight injured in that incident.

On October 9, two days after the start of the air campaign, the Kabul offices of an Afghan de-mining agency were struck by what may have been an errant cruise missile. Four civilians were killed there.

But the Pentagon has vehemently disputed claims by Taliban officials that more than 200 civilians were killed in an attack Thursday on a village called Kadam, some 40 kilometers (24 miles) west of Jalalabad.

Pentagon officials said US forces used precision guided munitions to penetrate nearby caves that had been tunneled-out and apparently used to store munitions.

The attack set off huge explosions, but US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld insisted that anyone killed must have been involved in the Taliban activities associated with the caves.


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