NATO and Afghan authorities are conducting a joint enquiry after Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused international forces of killing 52 civilians in an airstrike in southern Afghanistan.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai
The incident took place near the village of Rigi in the Sangin district of Helmand province on Monday. Rear Admiral Greg Smith, communication director of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), has already rejected speculation about alleged civilian casualties. A NATO statement said that ISAF and Afghan National Army forces were attacked with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades and retaliated with attack helicopters and guided missiles killing six insurgents in the process. Allied forces' fire struck the intended targets, the statement claimed.
Remains of missing US sailor found
Separately, NATO reported on Tuesday that the remains of a US sailor who has been missing since Friday have been recovered after an extensive search-and-recovery operation. He was one of two US Navy sailors who went missing after leaving a military compound in Logar province, which lies south of Kabul.
Kidnapping of foreign soldiers is rare in Afghanistan
Taliban insurgents operating in Logar province claimed to have ambushed the pair, killing one and taking the other captive. Kidnappings of foreign soldiers are rare in Afghanistan since most kidnappings are committed by criminals to obtain ransom payments.
No surprises in Wikileaks: German defense minister
Meanwhile, German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has said that the revelations in Wikileaks regarding Afghanistan have not sprung any surprises on the German government. Even the presence of a US commando unit in North Afghanistan had been common knowledge in informed circles for years. According to information published in Wikileaks, US Task Force 373 has been stationed in the area under the supervision of the German army. The Task Force has the license to eliminate Taliban commanders.
Editor: Grahame Lucas