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The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has ordered the reopening of the investigation into an Aug. 22 attack in Herat province that killed anywhere from five to 90 civilians.

Gen. David McKiernan issued a statement late Sunday saying that new information caused him to order a review of the incident, which has already been a subject of investigations by the Afghan government, the United Nations and the U.S. military.

"In light of emerging evidence pertaining to civilian casualties in the August 22 counter-insurgency operation in the Shindand District, Herat province, I feel it is prudent to request that US Central Command send a general officer to review the US investigation and its findings with respect to this new evidence," the statement read.

"The people of Afghanistan have our commitment to get to the truth."

The incident is the latest in a string of civilian deaths that have increasingly put a wedge between the U.S.-led coalition and the Afghan government and people. After the attack, Afghan President Hamid Karzai visited the

village to meet with mourners, condemning the strike and promising punishment to anyone found responsible for civilian deaths.

Some of the new evidence appears to be freshly-dug graves and cell phone video taken by residents of the village and recently viewed by a New York Times reporter. According to a story published Sunday on the Times’ Web site, that video shows "at least 11 dead children, some apparently with blast and concussion injuries, among some 30 to 40 bodies laid out in the village mosque."

The videos were reportedly part of an Afghan government investigation that put the civilian death toll from the strike at 90. On Monday, The Associated Press said it had also obtained copies of two videos that show the bodies of "several" children.

"The video obtained Monday, apparently taken by a cell phone, is grainy and details such as a precise body count are difficult to make out. A second video shows gruesome detail of children severely disfigured," the AP reported.

On Sept. 2, the U.S. military released the results of a "15-6" investigation that said "five to seven" civilians were killed along with "30-35 Taliban militants," including an alleged Taliban commander named Mullah Sadiq.

The U.S. report said that "the range in the casualty numbers [was] determined by observation of the enemy movements during the engagement as well as on-site observations immediately following the engagement."

An Afghan government investigation of the attack said that 90 civilians were killed, including 60 children, 15 men, and 15 women. The U.N. used the Afghan report as the basis for its report, officials have said.

The mission was a Special Operation ground mission backed by U.S. air strikes.

According to the initial U.S. military investigation, the ground forces began taking fire as they approached their objectives in the early morning darkness. "Well-aimed small-arms fire and close-air support" were used in response, the investigation found.

The investigation reportedly found "evidence that the militants planned to attack a nearby Coalition forces’ base." The military has accused militants of entering the village after the attack and telling villagers to lie in their accounts of what happened.


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