BY NORM DIXON
US soldiers removed vital evidence from the scene of the July 1 wedding massacre in Oruzgan province, Afghanistan, according to a preliminary United Nations report leaked to the London Times.
The details were published in the Times on July 29. The UN investigators said the removal of evidence smacked of an attempted cover-up of the US-inflicted massacre.
According to the Times, the UN report stated that there was no corroboration of US claims that its aircraft had been fired upon from the village of Kakarak, where two wedding parties were blasted by US warplanes at around 1am on July 1.
According to Afghan authorities, at least 48 people were killed in the US attack, 25 from one family. Most were women and children. Survivors have estimated that more than 100 people died.
The draft UN report stated that US ground forces arrived at the scene soon after the massacre and "cleaned the area" of evidence of "shrapnel, bullets and traces of blood". Women survivors had their hands tied behind their backs while the US soldiers collected the debris.
The UN report confirms reports by locals that US commandos had arrived by helicopter soon after the attack, taking photographs, filming the scene and examining the bodies.
The UN investigators noted that there were discrepancies between the various US accounts of the attack and accused US investigators of dragging out their own inquiry in the hope that the incident would be forgotten.
From Green Left Weekly, August 7, 2002.
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