Afghan officials said on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, that an apparent NATO airstrike killed 15 people in an eastern province of Afghanistan where the Taliban are strong. According to a report from Reuters, nine of the 15 killed were civilians, and that included women and children.
NATO's report says that the airstrike killed 10 insurgents, but they have no reports of any civilian deaths.
The latest NATO airstrike occurred in the Watapur district of Kunar, a province that actually lies along the border with Pakistan. It is a militant stronghold where numerous Arab and other foreign militants are believed to operate there alongside the Afghan Taliban.
Civilian deaths happening during NATO operations have been a long-standing issue between U.S.-led troops in the country and the Afghan government.
When the incidents occur in dangerous, remote regions, the number of deaths is often a subject of conflict. Access to these areas by independent observers is restricted, and it is often hard to get accurate information.
The latest NATO airstrike was said to have hit a pickup truck carrying the women and children in Qoro village soon after three Afghan and three Arab militants boarded it on Saturday night. Kunar province police chief Abdul Habib Sayed Khaili said some reports called it a drone strike, but Afghan officials had yet been unable to confirm that.
"We take all allegations of civilian casualties seriously," NATO said in a statement.
NATO spokeswoman 1st Lt. AnnMarie Annicelli confirmed that the military alliance did carry out a "precision strike." She also confirmed that 10 "enemy forces" were killed, and they received no reports of any civilians dying in the NATO airstrike.