The Washington Post reported earlier today that NATO’s fact-finding team has determined that about 125 people were killed in Friday’s US air strike in the Kunduz Province of Afghanistan, and that the German commander who ordered it had used a single informant as the source of his claim that there were no civilians in the region in violation of rules meant to limit civilian casualties.
Initial reports had Friday’s attack killing at least 90 people, dozens of them civilians. Militants hijacked a pair of NATO fuel tankers entering the country from nearby Tajikistan, and drove them to the village where they offered free fuel to villagers. Hundreds had reportedly gathered to syphon fuel from the tankers when the air strike destroyed them, setting off a fire ball that caused massive death and destruction. The US initially insisted that no civilians were killed, but later expressed “regret” and conceded that some may have been.
NATO spokesman General Eric Tremblay however denied the reports that the early findings from investigators pointed any rule breaches and insisted that though the investigators are on the ground they haven’t reported any findings yet.
The Washington Post defended its report in the face of the denial, pointing out that one of its reporters has actually accompanied the “fact-finding team” and that all of the claims in the article came directly from comments by the team.