NATO airstrike kills eight civilians in Afghanistan | News | DW | 27.05.2012
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NATO airstrike kills eight civilians in Afghanistan

A NATO airstrike has killed eight members of a family in eastern Afghanistan, authorities there said on Sunday. The father of the family apparently had no connection to the Taliban.

A family of eight was killed by an airstrike carried out by ISAF forces in the eastern Afghan province of Paktia, according to Afghan security officials. The strike took place in the Gerda Serai district of Paktai late on Saturday.

"Eight people - a man, his wife and six of their children - are dead. It was an airstrike conducted by NATO. This man had no connection to the Taliban or any other terrorist group," local government spokesman Rohullah Samon told the AFP news agency.

He also said the airstrike was not coordinated with Afghan security forces on the ground in the area.

"A house was bombed by NATO. A man named Mohammad Sahfee, his wife and six of their innocent children were brutally killed," an official in Kabul confirmed.

A spokesman for ISAF, Lieutenant-Colonel Jimmie Cummings, said ISAF was investigating the claim.

Deadly record

Last year was the deadliest on record for civilians in Afghanistan, with 3,021 killed as insurgents carried out suicide and roadside bomb attacks, the United Nations said in its latest report on civilian deaths.

The UN attributed 77 percent of the deaths to insurgent attacks and 14 percent to actions by international and Afghan troops. Nine percent of cases were classified as having an unknown cause.

NATO is preparing to hand over all security responsibilities to Afghan forces, with foreign combat troops scheduled to leave the country by the end of 2014.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, four NATO soldiers were killed in bomb blasts in southern Afghanistan, according to ISAF. The soldiers died "following separate improvised explosive device attacks" on Saturday, ISAF said in a release.

ng/slk (AP; Reuters, AFP)