An air attack during a joint Afghan-NATO operation in eastern Afghanistan has killed at least 10 children and wounded six women, Afghan officials say. The attack comes shortly after a Taliban attack killed 5 US citizens.
A NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan killed at least 10 children and one woman, Afghan officials said on Sunday.
The attack late on Saturday was part of a joint Afghan-NATO operation in the Shigal district of Kunar province, which lies east of Kabul along the border with Pakistan. Officials said the victims were in their houses when the roofs collapsed on them.
"Ten children and eight militants were killed in the strike, six women were wounded," provincial spokesman Wasifullah Wasifi told news agency AFP.
Sayed Rahman, Shigal's security commander, said one women was also killed. Shigal district governor Abdul Zahir confirmed the number of casualities. Another report said the number of dead children was 11.
Captain Luca Carniel, spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), said NATO was aware of the reports of civilian casualties and was investigating the incident. He said the airstrike had been requested by ISAF, not by Afghan security forces.
Civilian deaths at the hands of NATO are one of the most contentious issues between the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the international troops that work to secure the country.
Taliban attack in south kills five
The news of the child deaths came shortly after a Taliban bomb struck a NATO convoy in the southern Zabul province, killing three US troops and two US civilian workers, one of them a diplomat.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said he had met the diplomat during his visit to Kabul last week, and described her as "smart, capable, eager to serve and deeply committed to our country and the difference she was making for the Afghan people."
"She tragically gave her young life working to give young Afghans the opportunity to have a better future," Kerry said. "We also honor the US troops and Department of Defense civilian who lost their lives, and the Afghan civilians who were killed today as they worked to improve the nation they love."
acb/jr (AFP, AP)