Afghanistan

U.S. Admits Role in 3 Women's Deaths

After denying it for weeks, the U.S. military command admitted a role in the deaths of three Afghan women in a botched Special Operations raid February 12. The admission will only intensify questions about what really happened that night. NATO officials initially said the three women who died had been stabbed to death hours before the raid, but a new Special Operations report says bullets were dug out of their bodies post mortem. (An anonymous NATO official said there had been evidence tampering Sunday, but another disputed that Monday.) Two of the women were pregnant, and one had six other children; they were attending what survivors describe as a celebration of the homeowner’s grandson’s birth. Special Operations attacks are blamed for many civilian casualties, which Gen. Stanley McChrystal has been working to limit in Afghanistan, with some success. NATO’s statement Sunday said the lack of forensic evidence prevented investigators from being certain of how and when the women died, but they had “concluded that the women were accidentally killed as a result of the joint force firing at the men.”