NATO air offensive kills 21 civilians in Afghanistan
At least 21 civilians were killed and 14 wounded during an air strike launched by NATO troops in southern Afghanistan, Interior Ministry sources said.
Zemarai Bashary, a ministry spokesman, said: “The attack took place last night after troops mistook the occupants of several cars with members of the Taliban insurgency.
Bashary added that “the troops of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), commanded by NATO, attacked cars traveling between Chora district, belonging to the southern province of Uruzgan and Kajra.
And NATO acknowledged today that “a number of people killed and injured during an air strike in Uruzgan registered yesterday.
The ISAF said it had begun an investigation into the incident, but Reuters reports the Afghan cabinet called the killings “unjustifiable.” CNN reports that a Dari and Pashtun version of the cabinet’s statement said: “The council of ministers strongly condemns the repeated killing of civilians by NATO,” a sentence that was not included in the English version.
According to Reuters, the US commander in Afghanistan expressed his regret in the ISAF statement.
“We are extremely saddened by the tragic loss of innocent lives,” US General Stanley McChrystal, commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, said in the ISAF statement.
“I have made it clear to our forces that we are here to protect the Afghan people and inadvertently killing or injuring civilians undermines their trust and confidence in our mission,” he said.