Following a joint investigation, NATO was forced today to admit that Monday’s air strike in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan indeed, as reported, killed six civilians, including a woman and two children. The admission came in the form of a statement released by Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s office.
In the statement, Gen. David McKiernan is quoted as admitting that “despite repeated efforts by NATO and coalition forces, civilians sustained casualties in Khost and Kunar provinces.” It also said Gen. McKiernan had assured Karzai that the alliance would try to avoid future incidents. They formally apologized for the loss of innocent life and said they have offered “assistance” to the families of those killed and wounded.
The reference to the Khost Province points to an even more high-profile incident last week in which US forces attacked the home of an officer in the Afghan military, killing four members of his family and shooting a pregnant woman multiple times in the stomach, with one of the bullets killing the fetus. In that case, as with the Kunar Province one, coalition forces claimed all those killed were militants before eventually having to change their stories.