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Nato hit very few targets in Kosovo, claims secret report.

A suppressed US Air Force report shows that the number of targets verifiably destroyed by high-altitude bombing in the Kosovo War was a tiny fraction of what top military officers publicly claimed.

The report says 14 tanks were destroyed, not 120; 18 armoured personnel carriers, not 220; and 20 artillery pieces, not 450.

Instead of the 744 "confirmed" strikes by Nato pilots during the war, the air force investigators, who spent weeks combing Kosovo, found evidence of just 58 strikes.

The damage report has been buried by top military officers and Pentagon officials who, in interviews over the last three weeks, were still denying its significance.

Gen Wesley Clark, the top Nato commander during the war, tried - at least at first - to gain an accurate picture of the bombing. At the end of June, he dispatched a team to do an on-the-ground survey in Kosovo. The 30 experts were known as the Munitions Effectiveness Assessment Team.

The bombing, they discovered, was highly accurate against fixed targets, such as bunkers and bridges, but very few destroyed tanks were found.

The air force was ordered to prepare a new report and in a month, Brig Gen John Corley produced a survey that pleased Gen Clark.

It asserted that Nato had successfully struck 93 tanks, close to the 120 claimed at the end of the war, and 153 armoured personnel carriers, not far off the claimed 220.

But the air force's team did not do any actual field research.
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Title Annotation:Foreign News
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 9, 2000
Words:246
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