Original source:

Afgan human rights monitors said on Sunday they are investigating the possible use of white phosphorus in a US air raid that killed 147 civilians.

Doctors are concerned over what they are calling ‘unusual’ burns on Afghans wounded in last Monday’s battle with Taliban guerillas in Farah province.

Herat Regional Hospital burn unit head Dr Mohammad Aref Jalali, who has treated five patients wounded in the battle, said: ‘I think it’s the result of a chemical used in a bomb, but I’m not sure what kind of chemical.

‘But if it was a result of a burning house – from petrol or gas cylinders – that kind of burn would look different,’ he said.

Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission member Nader Nadery said that officials had met patients and were investigating.

UN human rights investigators have also seen ‘extensive’ burn wounds on victims and have raised questions about how the injuries were caused.

White phosphorus is a spontaneously flammable light metal which can cause chemical burns, blindness and suffocation from its caustic smoke.

It is used to mark targets, create smoke screens or as a weapon. International law bans its use in residential areas.

The US military continued to blame the Taliban for the massacre on Sunday.