US, NATO admit killing civilians
KABUL (PAN): US and NATO forces acknowledged on Saturdat that their recent airstrikes had killed and injured several Afghan civilians, with the coalition taking full responsibility for the trageci incidents.
In a joint statement, the US forces and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said a preliminary probe revealed their strikes had caused the deaths and injuries to Afghan civilians, but they did not mention casualty figures.
“The coalition takes full responsibility for these tragic and regrettable incidents, and we will meet with the family members of those who died or were injured to express our sincere condolences,” said the statement.
It referred to the coalition airstrikes on May 4 in Pan Kalay in Kandahar and May 6 in Nowbahar village of Zabul. At least 20 people were killed in the two raids when coalition forces targeted insurgents but instead hit civilians. In Helmand province, a mother and her five children lost their lives when NATO forces struck their house.
ISAF Commander Gen John R.Allen would brief President Hamdi Karzai on the findings and the president would be assured that all appropriate actions would be taken to minimise similar attacks on civilians in the future, said the coalition.
“Our deepest regrets and sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who died or were injured during coalition airstrikes. We must not allow these incidents to damage our shared goals of a peaceful and secure Afghanistan,” added the statement.
The attacks angered the Karzai administration, as the incidents occurred just days after Afghanistan and the US inked an important strategic deal on long-term security ties between the allies.
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