According to Afghan President Hamid Karzai “during a coalition operation, 17 civilians including women and children were killed among militants in Laghman province.” The United States has denied the claim, insisting that only militants were killed in the attack on the Taliban’s roadside bomb network.
Karzai has repeatedly criticized the US-led international forces for killing large numbers of civilians in their military operations. He has said he believes the international forces’ unilateral actions harm the legitimacy of the Afghan government in the minds of the nation’s civilian populace.
The deaths would be the first significant incident of international forces killing Afghan civilians in 2009. Such incidents were rampant in 2008, and the US traditionally has denied reports of civilian deaths for long periods after such incidents.