Monday, February 22, 2010

CNN: McChrystal apologizes as airstrike kills dozens in Afghanistan

McChrystal apologizes as airstrike kills dozens in Afghanistan

The head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, expressed regret Monday after more than two dozen civilians were killed in a NATO airstrike.

Twenty-seven civilians died and 14 others were wounded in the incident Sunday in the central Daikondi province, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry.

Ground forces at the scene found women and children among the casualties, the Afghan government and NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a joint statement.

The U.S military told CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr they "accept" the Afghan government's death toll. ISAF said it had ordered an immediate investigation into the incident, while the Afghan cabinet called the attack "unjustifiable."

"We are extremely saddened by the tragic loss of innocent lives," said McChrystal, who spoke to President Hamid Karzai Sunday evening to express his sorrow and regret over the incident.

"I have made it clear to our forces that we are here to protect the Afghan people, and inadvertently killing or injuring civilians undermines their trust and confidence in our mission. We will re-double our efforts to regain that trust."

Commanders ordered the daylight NATO airstrike because they had specific intelligence that a group of Taliban in vehicles was heading towards coalition forces on the ground, according to a senior U.S. military official.

To Read the Rest of the Report

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