A bomb from a U.S. warplane has missed its military target at Kabul airport and instead hit a residential area nearby. The mistake occurred early Saturday, as U.S. and British air strikes against terrorist targets in Afghanistan continue.
The U.S. Defense Department says a precision-guided bomb missed its target at the Kabul airport and exploded instead in a residential area nearly two kilometers away. In a written statement, the Pentagon says the intended target was a military helicopter at the airport. The incident occurred at about three o'clock in the morning, Afghanistan time.
The Pentagon says details are being investigated, but preliminary indications are that a targeting error caused the accident.
The statement also says the United States regrets the loss of life, adding that the number of casualties is not known but reports from the gound indicate there may have been four deaths and eight injuries.
The statement says U.S. forces are intentionally striking only military and terrorist targets and take great care in the targeting process to avoid civilian casualties.
Taleban officials have claimed at least 300 civilians have died during the seven days of bombing, but this has not been confirmed.
The following is the text of the Pentagon statement on the stray bomb.
No. 509-01 IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 13, 2001
JDAM MISSES INTENDED TARGET IN AFGHANISTAN
At approximately 6:30 p.m. EDT yesterday (Oct. 12), a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet missed its intended target and inadvertently dropped a 2000-pound GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) in a residential area near Kabul Airport, Afghanistan. The intended target was a military helicopter at Kabul Airport, approximately one mile from the residential area.
We regret the loss of any civilian life. U.S. forces are intentionally striking only military and terrorist targets. They take great care in their targeting process to avoid civilian casualties. We have no accurate way of estimating the number of casualties, but reports from the ground indicate there may have been four deaths and eight injured.
Although details are being investigated and may take several days, preliminary indications are that the accident occurred from a targeting process error.