ISAF Apologizes for Airstrike That Killed Eight in Afghanistan
(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- It’s pretty rare for NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to admit that it's made a mistake and it’s especially rare to do so in a press conference. Still, that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday when two brigadier general-level officers said ISAF bombs killed seven children and a young adult in eastern Afghanistan.
Gen. Lew Boone and Air Commodore Mike Wigston sent condolences to the family of those killed on Feb. 8, when French troops called in aircraft to attack “the group that we believed to be an imminent threat to our people,” Boone said. "Despite all tactical directives being followed precisely, we now know the unfortunate result of this engagement. In the end, eight young Afghans lost their lives in this very sad event."
Civilian casualties are detrimental to the U.S. effort in Afghanistan, and this was one of the most widely-publicized incidents in months. On Monday, the Afghan committee that investigated the attack accused the ISAF of neglecting Afghans’ human rights. The head of the committee held up photos of boys whose faces were bloody and ripped apart and said, “I call on human rights community and the world community: who will speak up for the rights of these children?”
Locals from the village have told reporters the children had walked to a grazing area and made a small fire when the bombing took place.
Pressed repeatedly, the two ISAF officers declined to say whether they knew for certain that the group was armed. Still, they seemed determined to try and win over the village, promising to build a much-needed road.