According to one of the investigators working for the Afghan government, the September 4 NATO air strike in the Kunduz Province killed 99 people, with 30 of them civilians. At least 20 of the slain “militants” were unarmed, and at least nine civilians were also wounded. He said the official report would be released in the next few days.
There has been considerable dispute over the strike, which occurred when a German military commander ordered the US to attack a pair of hijacked fuel tankers. Though the commander told the US he had ensured that there were no civilians in the area, NATO eventually conceded that this was not actually the case.
The human rights group Afghan Rights Monitor had previously put the toll at 130, with at least 70 of those killed civilians. The huge toll was caused because civilians were syphoning fuel from the tankers at the time of the attack, and the German commander used only a single “informant” to back up his claim that the area was clear.
NATO’s own final report on the incident isn’t expected for quite some time, but is considered to be politically damaging for the German government, just two weeks before its national elections. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has publicly condemned all criticism of the strike, insisting the commander acted appropriately.
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