Skip to main content

NATO airstrike kills 10 civilians, Afghan official says

By Masoud Popalzai and Ben Brumfield, CNN
updated 7:57 PM EST, Wed February 13, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Five women and four children are among the 10 civilians killed, Kunar province governor says
  • The strike also killed three Taliban commanders who were targets, an official says
  • NATO says it is investigating
  • Civilian deaths have long been a point of contention between Kabul and Washington

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan late Tuesday killed 10 civilians, including children, an Afghan government official said.

The strike succeeded in killing three Taliban commanders who were targets of the attack, said Wasifullah Wasifi, a spokesman for the governor of Kunar province. But it also claimed civilian lives, he said.

The 10 civilians killed included five women and four children, Kunar province Gov. Fazelullah Wahidi said.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said it was looking into the allegations.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been at loggerheads with Washington over civilian casualties for years, saying the killings show a lack of respect for his country's sovereignty.

In June, ISAF Commander Gen. John Allen traveled to the site of an airstrike that killed 18 people to personally apologize.

While militant attacks have caused by far the greatest number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, many Afghans and coalition members have expressed concern about civilian deaths caused by air operations.

The number of civilian casualties dropped in 2012, compared with the previous year, according to the United Nations. Improvised explosive devices accounted for 33% of civilian deaths that year, according to a report by the U.S. Congressional Research Service.

The United States will draw down 34,000 troops currently stationed in Afghanistan in a year's time, President Barack Obama announced in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. The current number stands at 66,000.

By the end of 2014 -- the planned official end of the combat mission -- the White House is considering a range of troop levels for Afghanistan, from as many as 15,000 down to zero.

Afghanistan's defense department praised Obama's announcement, saying it was ready to take over responsibility for defending its own country.

Critics have expressed doubts about the Afghan military's readiness to maintain control over the Taliban.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
updated 4:16 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Hamas: "Lift the siege." Israel: "End the rockets." The two sides' demands will be difficult to reconcile.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
updated 4:42 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
ADVERTISEMENT