NATO Airstrike Kills 27 Afghan Civilians

Collateral damage may be becoming too much for Afghanistan to bear. Afghan officials announced that a NATO airstrike in the southern province of Uruzgan killed no less than 27 civilians in what could be another case of mistaken identity. The NATO confirmed that its planes launched attacks late on Sunday. The NATO said in a statement that allied pilots initially thought that they were firing at a group of Taliban rebels. Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Zemeri Bashray said the attack actually hit three buses carrying civilians, including children.

Commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal, head of NATO operations in the country, said the incident “saddened” the organization, and vowed that they “will redouble our effort” to regain the trust of Afghan civilians. He added that he had continuously reminded NATO soldiers that they are in Afghanistan to protect civilians.

The incident is the second in just over a week to lead to civilian casualties. Last week, 12 people died when a NATO airstrike failed to hit its target. McChrystal also made the same pronouncements he made today after the February 14 incident.