A NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan killed 11 civilians, 10 of them children, in addition to the Taliban operatives it was trying to hit, Afghan officials said.
The strike late Saturday in the Shigal district of Kunar province near Pakistan was called by coalition forces after they and their Afghan counterparts came under an attack that killed an American adviser and badly wounded four Afghan soldiers.
Wasifullah Wasifi, spokesman for the governor of Kunar province, said the strike killed seven Taliban operatives, who were its target. In addition to the 10 children, one civilian woman was killed and five other women were wounded, he said.
Two of the dead, Taliban commanders Ali Khan and Gul Raouf, were the main planners and organizers of terrorist activities, armed assaults and explosions in the district and other parts of Kunar province, the ministry said.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said it was investigating the airstrike and could not confirm reports that a large number of children were killed.
“We are still assessing the situation,” said John Manley, an ISAF spokesman. “We’re aware of the allegations that civilians died. We take these seriously.”
On the same day as the airstrike, six Americans died in attacks in Afghanistan.