Australian military probing Uruzgan deaths
The deaths occurred in Dowan area on Thursday, when the troops were conducting an aerial patrol of the village, where the children were tending their cattle.
Gen. David Hurley, the Australian military chief, said: “We deeply regret that ISAF was responsible for the unintended death of two young Afghan boys during the operation.”
In a statement issued in Sydney, the military chief said: “It is premature to make any determination about how the incident occurred or who was responsible.”
He added the troops immediately reported the incident to Afghan officials and military leaders in Uruzgan. Australian commanders are said to working with ISAF and Afghan partners to determine the facts surrounding the shooting.
Most of Australia’s 1,550 troops, working within the ISAF framework, are stationed in Uruzgan. They are focused on training and mentoring Afghan soldiers ahead of the withdrawal of NATO combat troops by the end of 2014.
Also on Sunday, the new 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 in a statement: "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…”
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