ISAF probing civilian deaths in Zherai
KABUL (PAN): NATO-led troops, together with their Afghan counterparts, are investigating alleged civilian deaths during a security operation in southern Kandahar province, the alliance said on Friday.
A day earlier, President Hamid Karzai denounced the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) airstrike that killed seven children and wounded two others in the Zherai district of the province.
"ISAF has begun a commander’s inquiry, and a joint incident assessment team has been initiated into an event occurring on November 23 that concerns several civilians being killed and injured," the force said.
A statement from the multinational force said the incident occurred when coalition forces identified and responded to offensive actions by the militants.
The ISAF commander was quoted as saying: "Protecting the Afghan civilian population is central to our mission here in Afghanistan and we will investigate this situation fully to determine exactly what took place and whether any further actions need to be taken."
Gen. John R. Allen added: "As was President Karzai, I too was saddened by this event. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those families who have been affected by this incident."
According to the statement, the joint assessment is under way together with Afghan authorities to determine the facts of the incident. Concurrently, the commander’s inquiry is also taking place.
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