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All 10 killed in US-led airstrike were civilians, Afghan panel says
Saturday, 02.16.2013, 10:03pm (GMT+1)

All 10 killed in US-led airstrike 
were civilians, Afghan panel says

Press TV
February 16, 2013

An Afghan fact-finding committee has accused US-led foreign forces of killing ten civilians in a recent airstrike in eastern Afghanistan.

In a report issued on Friday, the committee said that the victims were five children, four women and a man, who was an Afghan government official.

Five children were also injured in the airstrike.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai had tasked the panel with investigating the airstrike, which took place on Tuesday in the eastern province of Kunar.

On Thursday, Karzai summoned General Joseph Dunford, the new commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, over the killings.

According to a government statement, Dunford, who replaced General John Allen on Sunday, was called in "for explanations" to the Afghan presidential palace following the airstrike.

"Pointing to a commitment Gen. Allen had previously made not to conduct any airstrike or bombing in residential areas, President Karzai reminded that such incidents must strictly be avoided in future and any recurrence is not acceptable," the statement said.

Dunford "expressed his personal condolences for any civilians who may have died or been injured as a result of the operation," the statement added.

The rise in civilian casualties in NATO attacks has strained relations between Karzai and his Western allies, who are under increasing pressure at home over the unpopular war.

The US-led war in Afghanistan began in October 2001. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity continues to rise across the country despite the presence of about 100,000 foreign forces.

The United Nations announced in February 2012 that 2011 was the deadliest year on record for Afghan civilians. The death toll rose eight percent compared to the year before and was roughly double the figure for 2007.

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