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NATO air strike killed ten civilians in Afghanistan, including women, children

AFP

8ghazni_civilins_killed_by_nato.jpg

Relatives of slain Afghan civilians wail next to their dead bodies in Ghazni, Afghanistan, Friday, Oct. 16, 2009.


September 8, 2013

NATO airstrike kills at least 10 civilians: Afghan officials


At least 10 civilians have been killed in a NATO airstrike on a pickup truck carrying women and children in eastern Afghanistan, Afghan provincial officials said Sunday.

ISAF said 10 enemy forces had been killed in a precision strike in the Wattapur district of Kunar province Saturday, but that they had received no reports of any civilian casualties.

Kunar police chief Abdul Habib Sayedkhil told AFP the airstrike hit a pickup truck carrying the women and children, as well as four armed insurgents.

"At least four women, four children and two civilian drivers were killed in a NATO airstrike in Wattapur district of Kunar province," he said.

Kunar Provincial governor Shujaul Mulk Jalala told AFP that 12 civilians - four women, four children and four men - were killed, along with four insurgents.

"I can confirm that four armed insurgents belonging to Al Qaeda were also killed in the airstrike," he said.

Civilians casualties in NATO operations have long been a source of tension between the Afghan government and US-led NATO troops, who are winding down operations as they prepare to withdraw by the end of next year.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has banned his forces requesting NATO strikes during operations in residential areas.

ISAF said it was aware of the allegations and was looking into the incident.

"We can confirm Coalition Forces' conducted a precision strike yesterday... resulting in 10 enemy forces killed," it said in a statement.

"At this time, we have no reports of any civilian casualties in regards to this incident."

Kunar, which borders Pakistan, is a stronghold of the Taliban-led insurgency and is also known to have a strong presence of foreign fighters.

As NATO troops wind down operations and Afghan security forces take charge of security responsibility countrywide, violence in Afghanistan has been on the increase.

Nearly 1,000 civilians were killed and and around 2,000 others were injured in the first half of 2013, according to a UN report, a 23 per cent increase from the same period last year.

AFP




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:: Article nr. 100775 sent on 12-sep-2013 01:11 ECT

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