The history of NATO night raids in Afghanistan has already been littered with failures and civilian casualties, and was worsened again today as officials admitted that an overnight raid targeted the wrong house, killing a 12 year old girl and a man employed by the National Police, whom officials had initially termed a “Taliban leader.”
Officials said they were targeting a Taliban suspect in the region but apologized after they realized they had the wrong house, and after they had killed two people. The father of the slain girl, who owned the house, says she was killed when the troops threw a grenade at her. NATO reports confirm she was fleeing out the door at the time of her killing, but claim they assumed she was armed.
The initial statement from NATO said only that the forces “killed an armed and woman in Nangarhar.” The statement was released despite reports from the family suggesting the troops discovered their mistake and apologized before leaving.
NATO confirmed the apology and promised to investigate how the mistake happened and how they might prevent similar incidents in the future. Such incidents have occurred with alarming regularity, despite the Karzai government’s repeated demands to curb the raids.