Not long after NATO announced a joint probe into a US air strike in Herat which a UN report said killed 90 civilians, including 60 children, already tense relations with the Afghan government and populace stand to take another hit amid news that NATO forces have killed five more children in two separate incidents in Afghanistan today.
In what the international forces termed an “accident,” a patrol fired artillery rounds in the direction of a house in Paktika Province, killing three children within and injuring seven other civilians. NATO’s ISAF said it “deeply regrets” the incident, and claimed the patrol came under fire from Taliban fighters in the area. Former provincial intelligence chief and MP Dad Mohammad Khan said the Taliban had already left before the bombardment, and that none of them were killed.
Meanwhile, a raid by foreign and Afghan forces on the outskirts of the capital city of Kabul killed a man and two of his children, age 1 and 2, and injured his wife. They briefly detained three men in the raid, though they later released them. Outraged Afghans took to the streets of the neighborhood in response to the killings, burning tires and blocking a major road that connects Kabul to the eastern provinces. They vowed not to leave until those involved in the incident are punished. NATO as yet wouldn’t confirm their involvement.
The incidents occurred shortly after NATO issued a somewhat ominous sounding statement crediting its soldiers for assisting an unspecified number of wounded civilians in Helmand Province and claiming that the Taliban was about to accuse them of killing 70 civilians in the province, the site of a week-long battle which the coalition says killed more than 220 militants. While no Taliban accusations have yet been made, MP Khan did tell the Afghan Islamic Press that the fighting and air strikes had caused hundreds of civilian casualties.