The claim, based on the account of US special forces involved in the fighting, comes the day after the Red Cross and Afghan officials blamed American warplanes for killing more than 100 people in Bala Balak, a Taliban-held district in Farah province.
The top US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, expressed doubt about whether the civilians were killed by American air strikes.
"We have some other information that leads us to distinctly different conclusions about the cause of the civilian casualties," McKiernan said.
US Marine special operations forces, embedded with Afghan soldiers when the fighting erupted, claim the Taliban lobbed hand grenades into civilian houses before pretending the dead were victims of an American air strike, a United Nations official said.
One can hardly blame the Taliban for murdering civilians in this way (if it proves that the allegations are true). After all, they know how willing the press and European public opinion (as well as American public opinion on the two coasts) are to believe that American forces wantonly target civilians. From the Taliban's perspective, it would be a waste not to exploit that propaganda tool.