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NATO airstrike kills 27 Afghan civilians

British army soldiers clear Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) ...
NATO forces conducted an air-strike that left 27 Afghan civilians dead on Sunday.      Photo: AFP

Sunday, NATO forces conducted an air-strike on a suspected insurgent convoy, in the Uruzgan province in Southern Afghanistan.

When forces arrived on the ground, they found "a number of individuals killed and wounded", including women and children.

Mistakes that take the lives of innocents in Afghanistan are contributing to the ever-growing resentment of NATO and the US by the Afghan people.  Greater calls for the leaving of Westerners are sure to follow this event.

Last year, General Stanley McChrystal, the NATO and US commander in Afghanistan, introduced stricter rules of engagement in a bid to minimize civilian casualties.

The governor of Uruzgan reported that three vehicles in a convoy in a Taliban controlled area of the province were hit by air-attack on Sunday, but that all of the dead were civilians.  Initial reports from the ground suggested that 33 people were killed, but the final official total is 27 including four women and one child among the dead.

Government spokesmen, Nisar Ahmad Khetab, said that a delegation of elders had been sent to the area to investigate the deaths.

The Afghan government condemned the air strike, calling it "unjustifiable" and "a major obstacle" to effective counter-terrorism efforts.

The cabinet also called on NATO "to closely co-ordinate and exercise maximum care before conducting any military operation so that any possible mistakes that may result in harming civilians... can be avoided".

General McChrystal released a statement assuring Afghan President Hamid Karzai that a full investigation will be conducted and saying "We are extremely saddened by the tragic loss of innocent lives.

"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 redouble our efforts to regain that trust."

But if the Afghan people are to be killed by coalition forces, what shall motivate them to turn away from the Taliban?  Such collateral damage must be strictly minimized or regardless of the fighting capabilities, the US and NATO will lose the hearts and minds battle in Afghanistan to the Taliban.


  • Boondocks 5 years ago

    Maybe if he civilians realized that helping the UN coalition find and eliminate the insurgent forces would help protect them, maybe they wouldn't end up on the wrong side of a smart bomb...

    Maybe if civilians realize that THEIR lives are on the line as well, they'll start actually HELPING get rid of insurgents and terrorists, rather than aiding them (if in no other way than NOT telling the security forces where they're hiding...).

    My heart goes out to the innocent people killed in the attack, but if you as a civilian are willingly complicit in protecting insurgents and terrorists, then maybe you're not so "innocent" after all...

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