NATO airstrike kills insurgents, possibly civilians, in Afghanistan

KABUL Sun Sep 8, 2013 5:07am EDT

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai listens to Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta (not pictured) during their joint news conference in Kabul August 25, 2013. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai listens to Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta (not pictured) during their joint news conference in Kabul August 25, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mohammad Ismail

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KABUL (Reuters) - A NATO airstrike targeting insurgents in Afghanistan's lawless east hit a pickup truck carrying up to ten militants, officials said on Sunday, amid reports that at least eight civilians, including seven women and children, were also among the dead.

Civilian deaths have been a long-running source of friction between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his international backers. Karzai has forbidden Afghan troops from calling for foreign air strikes, though that ban is not always adhered to, and NATO advises crews not to fire at or bomb populated areas.

"We can confirm that we undertook a precision strike in Watarpur district of Kunar, and are able to confirm 10 enemy forces killed," a spokeswoman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), First Lieutenant AnnMarie Annicelli, said.

Watarpur is a rural district in the north of Kunar, a mountainous province that shares a long and porous border with lawless tribal areas of Pakistan. The province has long been considered a transit hub for foreign insurgents, including al Qaeda members, who fight alongside the Taliban.

While Kunar police chief Abdul Habib Sayed Khil and provincial governor Shuja ul Mulk Jalala said civilians had been killed in the incident, the NATO spokeswoman said the grouping had received no reports of civilian casualties.

Jalala and Khil said at least eight civilians, including three women, four children and the truck's driver, had been caught up in an airstrike targeting Taliban fighters. They added that the truck was hit after the driver gave the Taliban fighters a lift.

The strike occurred about 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jalala said.

(Reporting by Sultan Ahmad and Mohammad Anwar; Writing by Dylan Welch; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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Comments (6)
StigTW wrote:
… Simply Sad. And yet the US wants more of this?

Sep 08, 2013 6:58am EDT  --  Report as abuse
gowintec wrote:
Loss of innocent life is always sad. However it’s also very sad that these militants always surround themselves with innocent ones. These people also have no respect for these children, when will people realize that, and these people will never change they have the devils influence. I know what their teaching does to people, I saw first hand what it did to someone. Their faith turns them into hateful people and not able to reason with them. They turn against their friends and family. The situation over their will not change by man, only by Gods Kingdom. As the Bible says only those with righteous hearts will Gods sacred secrets be revealed and those with wicked hearts will not be able to understand

Sep 08, 2013 8:29am EDT  --  Report as abuse
AZreb wrote:
We seldom hear of the number of civilians killed or wounded in one of these “targeted” strikes. If we knew the totals, we might have even less confidence in the “limited strikes” proposed by our government.

Sep 08, 2013 8:54am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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