JIM LEHRER: And finally tonight, civilian casualties in the Afghanistan war. Ray Suarez has that story.
RAY SUAREZ: The initial reports, more than two weeks ago now, were horrific: Nearly 150 dead civilians, allegedly killed by U.S. air strikes in Farah province in western Afghanistan after a pitched battle between a joint U.S.-Afghan force and insurgents.
The early dispatches focused on swiftly dug mass graves, reports that 90 children had died, and swift compensation doled out by the Afghan government.
ABDUL GHAFAR (through translator): All my relatives have been killed, my cousins, uncles, my sister, my nephews. They were all there, and all of them have been killed.
RAY SUAREZ: U.S. officials, however, disputed those high figures and said many fewer civilians died and that the Taliban had purposely hidden among villagers.
Yesterday, the U.S. military said it had concluded that between 20 and 30 noncombatants were killed and 60 or more Taliban, but, they conceded, the final toll may never be known.
Earlier this week, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, linked the issue of civilian deaths to the new counterinsurgency strategy being implemented.
ADM. MIKE MULLEN, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff: We can't keep going through incidents like this and expect the strategy to work. At the same time, we can't tie our troops' hands behind their backs.
So we've got to be very, very focused on making sure that we proceed deliberately, that we know who the enemy is, and, in fact, the enemy uses this very effectively against us.