Probe team confirms civilian deaths in Kunar
KABUL (PAN): Appointed by President Hamid Karzai, an investigation team on Wednesday confirmed that 11 children and four women had died in a NATO airstrike in Shegal district of eastern Kunar province.
After the airstrike in Chawgam area on Saturday, Karzai sent a team to probe the incident on Monday.
The delegation that involved Cabinet ministers, lawmakers and senior government officials held interviews with families of the victims, said presidential advisor Shujaul Mulk, who led the probe team.
He said officials of the Office of Administrative Affairs at the Presidential Palace, the spy service and ministries of interior, defence and IDLG were part of the team.
He said the families confirmed they lost 11 children and four women to the airstrike that also left another eight women and two children wounded. He said seven Taliban fighters had also been killed and four others injured.
“Our information reveals civilians have been killed and four houses destroyed as a result of the airstrike,” he said, adding the team would present its findings to President Karzai.
Mulk said their investigation showed the children had not been killed as a result of a suicide blast during the gun-battle between insurgents and security forces. It has been confirmed by elders that the deaths were caused by the air raid, he added.
However, an ISAF spokesperson, Col. Thomas Collins, said the incident was still being investigated and it has not been determined as yet if ISAF was responsible for the deaths.
Reports earlier suggested that the US troops had called in air support after they and Afghan forces came under fire. The airstrike was followed by a severe gun battle that lasted for 24 hours.
Houses where three brothers and their families lived were targeted in the strike, local officials have said.
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