NATO strike killed 17 civilians in Afghanistan: Probe

Kabul, April 14 (IANS) A total of 17 civilians, including 12 children, died in a NATO-led air strike in the country’s Kunar province earlier this month, an investigation team established by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has found.

The fact-finding team, which presented its report to the president Saturday said: “Since the homes are made of wood and mud in those villages therefore they collapsed as a result of waves caused by the air strike.

It left “17 people dead including 12 children, four women and a man, and injured 12, including children, women and men”, Xinhua reported.

“As the reports confirm that armed Taliban were there in the area, therefore we strongly condemn the use of civilians and their homes as shields by the Taliban,” said Karzai in a statement issued by presidential palace Sunday.

“…as well as we do not accept the conduct of any air strike on residential areas under any name and for any purpose whatsoever,” he added.

The security forces had launched operations in search of two Taliban commanders. But while leaving the area, they were ambushed and an American advisor died in the incident.

US forces called in air support for transportation of their victim. And as per their call, NATO planes arrived and bombed the target homes for hours, the statement added.

President Karzai, in the statement, said the “act by the NATO-led forces was a violation of human rights and the presidential order which bans air strikes during operations in residential areas”.

Earlier reports had said 10 children, aged 4 to 12, were killed and six women wounded in the bombing which took place in the province’s Shelton area, 185 km from Kabul.

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