ISAF airstrike kills civilians in Helmand
KABUL(PAN): NATO-led forces on Saturday said an unknown number of Afghan civilians were "accidentally" killed and wounded in the Nawzad district of southern Helmand province during an airstrike targeting the Taliban.
The incident on Friday occurred when the security force called in an airstrike on two vehicles believed to be carrying a Taliban leader and his associates based on intelligence reporting, the alliance said in a statement.
The civilians were discovered in the vehicles following the airstrike during a battle damage assessment, it said.
"ISAF Joint Command is launching a joint incident assessment team".
The release did not disclose how many civilians were killed and wounded, and whether suspected Taliban were among the casualties.
The fresh civilian casualties, one of the most contentious issues in Afghanistan, came amid tension over the issue between international forces and President Hamid Karzai, who raised the issue again in a speech on Tuesday. He said the civilian deaths must be addressed as Afghan forces begin taking over responsibility for security in some areas of the country beginning this summer.
A United Nations report earlier this month said that 2,777 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2010, the deadliest toll in more than nine years of war. The Taliban were blamed for 75 percent of the deaths. The number of deaths by NATO forces declined 26 percent.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.