WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. military officials reversed themselves and now believe innocent people were among the estimated 15 killed and 27 captured in a commando raid in Afghanistan last week.
Two senior officials said Friday it appears likely that a mix of Taliban and anti-Taliban fighters were present at the site of the nighttime raid by U.S. special forces soldiers. U.S. intelligence officers had believed it was an al-Qaida terrorist hide-out.
Gen. Tommy Franks, commander in chief of U.S. Central Command, ordered an investigation earlier this week in response to assertions by Afghan government officials that anti-Taliban people were among those killed or captured. That investigation has not been completed.
Local Afghans say some of those killed were anti-Taliban forces loyal to Hamid Karzai, the head of the interim Afghan government, and that among those arrested were a police chief, his deputy and members of a district council. They labeled the raid a tragic case of mistaken identities.
Senior U.S. military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Friday that while it does not look like all of those killed and captured were friendly to the new government, some probably were.
U.S. officials have said that if innocents are among the 27 captives, they will be released.
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