NATO Confirms Kandahar Air Strike Killed Five Civilians

Civilians Were 'Mistaken for Insurgents'

In a scenario which has played out all too regularly in the nation in recent weeks, NATO forces say they called in an air strike against what they assumed to be “persons planting an IED explosive device” in the Kandahar Province, but were later revealed to be innocent civilians.

The strike left at least five of the civilians dead and two others wounded. NATO expressed “regrets” for the killings, and promised to offer the families of the slain financial compensation for the loss of their loved ones.

Officials were unclear about what the civilians were actually doing instead of planting IEDs, but the incident had shades of a previous air strike in Kandahar, in August. In that case, US troops saw people “loading munitions into a van,” ordering an air attack against them. The “munitions” turned out to be cucumbers, and the militants were farmers.

This is the second major incident of NATO forces killing civilians in the past 24 hours in Afghanistan, as yesterday a US rocket attack in the Helmand Province missed its intended target, killing 12 civilians in a house.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.