Monday, February 15, 2010

Afghanistan: Joint statement from Afghan government and ISAF on killing of civilians

Source: Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan; North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

Two rockets from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launched at insurgents firing upon Afghan and ISAF forces impacted approximately 300 meters off their intended target, killing 12 civilians in Nad Ali district, Helmand Province today.

ISAF Commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal conveyed his apologies to President Hamid Karzai for this unfortunate incident. "We deeply regret this tragic loss of life," said McChrystal. "The current operation in Central Helmand is aimed at restoring security and stability to this vital area of Afghanistan. It's regrettable that in the course of our joint efforts, innocent lives were lost. We extend our heartfelt sympathies and will ensure we do all we can to avoid future incidents."

The use of the HIMARS has been suspended until a thorough review of this incident has been conducted. The original target of the two rockets was a compound where insurgents were delivering accurate, direct fire on an Afghan-ISAF joint team. An Afghan National Army soldier and ISAF service member had been injured by the insurgent fire.

Updates to this incident will be made as information becomes available.

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