A NATO air strike in Afghanistan is said to have killed dozens of
Taliban militants and many civilians. As many as 90 people are reported killed in the incident.
and NATO officials say that Taliban insurgents in the northern Kunduz
province were driving two hijacked fuel trucks to an unknown
destination when fighter planes located them on a river bank and bombed
NATO officials say the pre-dawn strike destroyed the
fuel trucks and killed a large number of militants. Villagers, however,
say locals had also gathered around the hijacked trucks to collect fuel
from them when the attack occurred. It caused a huge fireball, they
say, that instantly burned most of the people alive.
Abdul Razzaq Yaqubi, the provincial police chief says that 56 Taliban were among those killed. He said
most of people being treated in local hospitals are in critical
President Hamid Karzai has set up a panel to
investigate Friday's attack, saying targeting civilians is unacceptable
for the Afghans.
Zamarai Bashary is the Interior Ministry spokesman in Kabul.
order to verify the casualties of civilians we have launched an
investigation into this case to make sure how many civilians are killed
and to make sure that what these civilians were doing at 2:30 in the
morning [when the attack occurred] in that place that is not a
residential place. So these are questions that we have to investigate
and find answers for this," he said.
Local authorities in
Kunduz say a large number of civilians are among the victims and many
of the bodies were reportedly burned beyond recognition.
commanders insisted the air strike was aimed at insurgents and launched
after forces determined there were no civilians in the area. But they
say an investigation into civilian casualties is under way with the
help of Afghan authorities.
The northern Kunduz province borders Tajikistan and it is known as a relatively peaceful Afghan province.
say that reports of civilian deaths are likely to fuel public anger
over foreign forces in Afghanistan. The incident comes two months after
the new commander of the international forces, U.S. General Stanley
McChrystal, put in place new measures to prevent civilian casualties
that he says undermine an anti-terrorism war in Afghanistan.