False Claims in Afghan Accusations on U.S. Raid Add to Doubts on Karzai

An image of a funeral in Afghanistan that the government tied to a recent American airstrike actually took place in 2009. Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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KABUL, Afghanistan — It was the kind of dossier that the Taliban often publish, purporting to show the carnage inflicted during a raid by American forces: photographs of shattered houses and bloodied, broken bodies, and video images of anguish at a village funeral, all with gut-churning impact and no proof of authenticity.

But this time, it was the government of President Hamid Karzai that was handing out the inflammatory dossier, the product of a commission’s investigation into airstrikes on Jan. 15 on a remote village and the supposed American cover-up that followed.

A young man reportedly killed in the airstrike. The authenticity of the images is under question. Afghanistan Presidential Palace, via Associated Press

A young man reportedly killed in the airstrike. The authenticity of the images is under question. Afghanistan Presidential Palace, via Associated Press

In an apparent effort to demonize their American backers, a coterie of Afghan officials appears to have crossed a line that deeply troubles Western officials here: They falsely represented at least some of the evidence in the dossier, and distributed other material whose provenance, at best, could not be determined.

An examination of the dossier by The New York Times also revealed that much of the same material was posted on a Taliban website last week, a rare instance of the militant group’s political speech matching that of the government it is fighting to topple.

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