View Full Version : NATO apologizes for killing 9 Afghan boys

03-05-2011, 03:47 PM
KABUL, Afghanistan NATO's top commander in Afghanistan apologized Wednesday for the accidental killing of nine Afghan boys and ordered attack helicopter crews to be briefed again on his directive for preventing civilian deaths.

Civilian casualties have long been a source of friction between the U.S.-led international force and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The president condemned the deaths as "merciless," saying the victims were "innocent children who were collecting firewood for their families during this cold winter."

"Is this the way to fight terrorism and maintain stability in Afghanistan?" Karzai asked in a statement Wednesday. He said NATO should focus more on "terrorist sanctuaries" a phrase he typically uses when referring to Taliban havens in neighboring Pakistan.

The incident on Tuesday in the Pech valley area of Kunar province came less than two weeks after tribal elders there claimed NATO forces killed more than 50 civilians in recent air and ground strikes. The coalition denied that claim, saying video showed troops targeting and killing dozens of insurgents. It said a subsequent investigation yielded no evidence that civilians had been killed. An Afghan government investigation, however, maintained that 65 civilians died in coalition operations in a remote part of the province.

Several hundred villagers in the area protested for four hours Wednesday against coalition strikes. Demonstrators chanted "Death to America" and "Death to the spies," a reference to what they said was bad intelligence given to helicopter weapons teams, said Noorullah Noori, a member of the local development council in Manogai district.

Link (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41871420/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/)