Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a statement “strongly condemning” the overnight air strike in Laghman Province, in which NATO warplanes attacked a group of women gathering firewood on the outskirts of a village, killing eight and wounding several others.
NATO initially claimed that they “positively identified hostile intent” from the unarmed women before the attack, and labeled them all “insurgents.” They later expressed “regret” and claimed the deaths were “unintentional.”
Provincial officials had already condemned NATO for the attack, saying that it was done without the requisite coordination from local and provincial officials for such an operation. Karzai also promised to deploy a team to investigate the incident.
Incredibly, the early speculation from analysts is that Western officials are going to be angry with Karzai for criticizing the killings publicly at a time when the two sides are already spatting about Bagram Prison. The ceremony for the transfer of the prison was held last week, but the transfer is on indefinite hold after the US demanded that Karzai promise never to give the detainees within anything resembling a trial, and Karzai insisted that was up to the Afghan judiciary to decide.
It is just the latest in seemingly countless incidents of NATO killing Afghan civilians, Karzai criticizing those killings, and NATO officials then publicly wondering whether they need to “replace” him.
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