NATO officials today admitted that an artillery attack in the Paktia Province of Afghanistan Thursday had actually killed six civilians. Initially officials insisted that the attack had only wounded eight and killed no one.
Just one day before the Paktia killings, a NATO helicopter attacked a group of Afghan soldiers in the Ghazni Province, killing five of them and wounding two others. Officials blamed this incident on a “miscommunication.”
NATO officials said that they “offer sincere condolences to those affected and accept full responsibility” for the Paktia killings, and had previously expressed “regret” over the Ghazni attack, insisting they didn’t intend to kill the Afghan troops.
The latest deaths come as new Afghanistan commander Gen. David Petraeus is considering revisions to the rules of engagement, removing safeguards aimed at preventing civilian deaths in the nearly nine year long conflict. Though the current rules have proven unable to prevent incidents like yesterday’s, many Afghans fear that removing them will change US policy to put them even more at risk.