NATO air strike kills six children: Afghan officials

A NATO air strike killed a family of eight, including six children, when it hit their home in eastern Afghanistan, local officials said on Sunday.

Saturday night's incident in Paktia province threatens to further sour already shaky ties between President Hamid Karzai and his Western backers and will likely enrage Afghan civilians weary of years of bloodshed.

"Eight people, a man, his wife and six of their children, are dead," local government spokesman Rohullah Samoon told AFP.

"It was an air strike conducted by NATO. This man had no connection to the Taliban or any other terrorist group."

A senior security official in Kabul confirmed the strike and deaths.

"It's true. A house was bombed by NATO. A man named Mohammad Sahfee, his wife and six of their innocent children were brutally killed," the official said.

A spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Lt-Col Jimmie Cummings, said it was investigating the claim.

Civilian casualties are a highly sensitive issue in Afghanistan and have often roiled relations between Karzai and the United States, which leads NATO forces in the fight against Taliban insurgents.

Karzai, who signed a long-term strategic pact with President Barack Obama this month, argues that civilian deaths caused by allied troops turn common Afghans against his Western-backed government.

He has also warned that such casualties threaten the pact with the US, with his office saying that "if the lives of Afghans are not protected, the strategic partnership will lose its meaning".

Karzai summoned ISAF commander General John Allen and US ambassador Ryan Crocker to the presidential palace just over two weeks ago after a number of civilians were killed in NATO air strikes.

NATO and US forces in Afghanistan admitted in a joint statement after the meeting that civilians had died in two separate hits.

The statement gave no details of how many civilians died in each of those incidents but local officials put the total at more than 20, including women and children.

"The president will be assured of our commitment to take any and all appropriate actions to minimise the likelihood of similar occurrences in the future," the statement said.

The number of civilians killed in Afghanistan's war has risen steadily each year for the past five years, reaching a record of 3,021 in 2011, the great majority caused by militants, according to UN statistics.

NATO has some 130,000 troops in Afghanistan, mostly from the United States, but they will withdraw by the end of 2014.

The latest civilian casualties come on top of a series of incidents this year that have rocked relations between the United States and its Afghan allies.

Videos and pictures have emerged of US forces abusing Taliban corpses, copies of the Koran were burnt on a major US military base and an American sergeant has been charged with 17 counts of murder over a massacre of civilians.

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Lenten procession more than just a spectacle VERA Files - The Inbox

    Text and photos by Kiersnerr Gerwin Tacadena, VERA Files Baliuag, Bulacan--This town is hosting what could be the country’s biggest Lenten procession consisting of more than 100 religious statues riding on carriages or carrozas. But concerns are being raised that … Continue reading → …

  • Holy Week in Mt Banahaw: Mysticism meets Catholicism VERA Files - The Inbox

    Text and photos by Patricia Isabel Gloria, VERA Files Dolores, Quezon—Around this time each year, hundreds of devotees flock to Barangay Sta. Lucia in Dolores, Quezon on the slopes of Mount Banahaw to celebrate Holy Week. Here, mysticism meets Catholicism, … Continue reading → …

  • Simbang lakad for Lolo Uweng VERA Files - The Inbox
    Simbang lakad for Lolo Uweng

    By April Anne Benjamin, VERA Files San Pedro, Laguna--For 14 Maundy Thursdays now, Inding Amoranto has prayed the rosary while walking the eight-kilometer distance from her house to the Shrine of Jesus in the Holy Sepulcher in the village of … Continue reading → …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options