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Civillians Killed During U.S.-Afgani Skirmish.

Sixteen civillians died Sunday after America troops fired upon a road in Barikaw, Afganistan. A car bomb detonated near the troops, which was followed by an ambush by Afgani forces. U.S. troops said that they opened fire in order to defend themselves.

The New York Times reported that a millitary spokesman expressed regret for the innocent bystanders who died.

“We regret the death of innocent Afghan citizens as a result of the Taliban extremists’ cowardly act,? Lt. Col. David Accetta said.

However, Accetta firmly placed the blame onto the Afghanis. He called their attack "cowardly' and said that such a manuever showed 'blatant disregard for human life'. The deaths triggered protests along the road where the shots were fired.

The AP reported that the American's story may be inaccurate. Nine witnesses, including wounded Afganis, said that the U.S. troops fired indiscriminately along the road.

"They were firing everywhere, and they even opened fire on 14 to 15 vehicles passing on the highway," said Tur Gul, 38, who was shot twice while standing outside a gas station. "They opened fire on everybody, the ones inside the vehicles and the ones on foot."

If U.S. troops did attack innocent bystanders unprovoked, a huge backlash could follow. This situation will likely further lower the public's opinion on current U.S. millitary engagements. This should also affect perceptions on the current Iraqi war. President Bush could find himself with even more of a struggle to set forth his millitary agenda, regardless of the outcome of this story. The allegation itself is damaging enough to the U.S. millitary's reputation.