Dunford regrets Uruzgan children's deaths
TIRINKOT (PAN): Two children have been killed by Australian troops in the Chaharchino district of central Uruzgan province, officials said on Saturday. NATO called the shooting deaths mistaken, voicing its regrets.
The deaths occurred in Dowan area on Thursday, when the troops were conducting an aerial patrol of the village, a police spokesman told Pajhwok Afghan News. Farid Ayel said the soldiers had been tipped off about a possible insurgent attack and that they had mistakenly killed the children -- aged nine and 10 years.
Uruzgan Governor Amir Mohammad Akhundzada confirmed the incident, saying it remained unclear as to who had passed the flawed information to the Australian soldiers.
Provincial council head, Amanullah Hotaki, condemned the incident. He said some domestic animals had also been killed in the airstrike. The victims were grazing their cattle and collecting firewood, he added.
Meanwhile, the ISAF commander acknowledged the children’s deaths. “It is with deep regret that the ISAF announces its forces were responsible for the unintended death of two young civilians during an operation on Feb. 28 in Uruzgan province.”
While offering his personal apology and condolences to the family of the boys, Gen. Joseph Dunford said: "I am committed to ensuring we do the right thing for the families of those we harmed, as well as for the community in which they lived. We take full responsibility for this tragedy."
A joint Afghan-ISAF investigation team visited the location on Saturday and met local leaders, according to the NATO-led force, which promised appropriate steps to minimise such occurrences in the future.
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