Afghan officials say NATO air strike kills five civilians



LOGAR, AFGHANISTAN: Afghan officials said that a Nato air strike on Friday killed five civilians and wounded six others, just days before the US-led military coalition ends combat operations in the country.

Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) did not immediately confirm the strike on Logar province, south of the capital Kabul, but always stresses that it tries to avoid civilian casualties.

“At around 3:30am, US forces conducted an air strike in Aab Josh village of Baraki Barak district,” said the district governor Mohammad Amin.

“The air strike hit a residential house killing five and wounding six civilians,” he told AFP.

Niaz Mohammad Amiri, Logar province’s acting governor, said the incident happened as US forces tracked Taliban fighters that have been waging a deadly insurgency since late 2001.

“US forces were chasing down Taliban militants, but mistakenly bombarded a house. As a result, civilians were victims of the attack,” Amiri said.

Civilian deaths in air strikes have been one of the most emotive and high-profile issues of the 13-year Afghan war, however, UN statistics show that the Taliban are responsible for the majority of deaths.

A UN report last week, said that civilian casualties jumped 19% by the end of November compared to the year before.

Some 3,188 civilians were killed and 6,429 injured, with the Taliban accountable for 75% of all cases.

Nato ends its 13-year mission against the Taliban in Afghanistan on Wednesday.

A follow-up mission of about 12,500 US-led Nato troops will stay on to train and support Afghan security forces.


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