Adding to the already embarrassingly long list of recent civilian killings in the Kunar Province, Afghan officials confirmed that a NATO air strike on Monday night killed two children who were working on irrigation channels for their family’s farm.
NATO initially confirmed the strike, saying it killed two “suspected insurgents,” but the insurgents were later revealed to be a 9-year-old and a 15-year-old. NATO has yet to reverse its claim that the two were “placing an IED,” despite the Afghan reports to the contrary.
The incident comes just two weeks after a NATO strike in Kunar that killed nine children who were collecting firewood, and who also were initially described as suspects. This was itself just weeks after an offensive by NATO killed 65 civilians in the province, including large numbers of women and children.
The killings sparked an angry rebuke by President Hamid Karzai, who insisted that US “apologies” for the killings were no longer sufficient, and demanded that the attacks stop taking place.