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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 083-02
February 21, 2002

STATEMENT ON HAZAR QADAM RAID

Today, the Secretary of Defense provided information during a Pentagon press briefing about the initial results of a commander in chief, U.S. Central Command-directed investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Jan. 23 raid of two compounds near Hazar Qadam. In order to ensure the record accurately reflects the findings of the investigation, the following clarification is provided.

The total number of Afghans who were killed during the raid is 16, with 14 killed at one compound and two killed in the other compound. The number of Afghans taken into custody by U.S. forces was 27. Those 27 were taken to a U.S. forward operating base at Qandahar airport for questioning. On Feb. 6, after being questioned about their identities and actions, they were released to the custody of Afghan officials in Oruzgan Province.

The 16 Afghans were killed after they fired on U.S. forces conducting a raid at two compounds believed to contain elements of Taliban or al Qaeda leadership. While we regret the loss of life, we are confident that the U.S. forces did their jobs to the best of their abilities, using the best information available to them in a very difficult situation.