NATO airstrikeSaturday, November 26, 2011 - Kandahar—Six children were among seven civilians killed in a NATO air strike in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said.
The deaths occurred on Wednesday in the Zhare district of Kandahar Province, an area described by coalition forces as largely pacified in recent months, and two insurgents were also killed, the Afghan officials said.
A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, Christopher DeWitt, said the authorities were aware of the strike and had sent a team to the district to investigate. He said the assistance force had not previously issued a news release on the deaths.
Zalmai Ayoubi, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar, said that a NATO reconnaissance aircraft spotted five militants planting mines in the village of Siacha, in the Zhare district, on Wednesday. The plane targeted the insurgents, killing two and wounding a third, and then pursued the other two suspects as they carried their wounded comrade away.
“The plane chased them, the insurgents entered a street where children were playing and, as a result of its shooting, seven people have been killed, including six children, and two girls also have been injured,” Mr. Ayoubi said.
The victims were members of two families.
Abdul Samad, an uncle of four of the children who were killed, disputed the government’s version of the attack.
He said his relatives were working in fields near their village when they were attacked without warning by an aircraft.—INP