Uruzgan deaths a tragedy: Australian minister
KABUL (PAN): The Australian defence minister on Tuesday described the killing of two young boys in central Afghanistan a tragedy, saying that the incident -- a case of mistaken identity -- was still under investigation.
Australian soldiers with ISAF shot dead the boys during a Feb. 28 operation in the Charchino district og Uruzgan province. President Hamid Karzai condemned the deaths and said that extremism did not exist in Afghanistan’s villages.
"What we do know is that a terrible tragedy has occurred. The Australian Defence Force and ISAF have accepted responsibility and made that point to Afghan authorities," Stephen Smith was quoted as saying by AAP.
He told reporters in Sydney the Uruzgan governor had acknowledged it was an accident. The deaths would not hit relations between Australian forces and Afghan authorities, Smith hoped.
"I don't think it will get in the way of what has been a very good relationship between Afghanistan authorities, whether it's at the central level or at the provincial level," he said.
Either Australia or the NATO-led force would make a compensation payment to the victims’ kin, he promised. “One should expect that in the normal course of events at some stage, some form of compensation payment will be made to the families concerned."
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