U.N. wants probe in Afghan civilian deaths

UNITED NATIONS, March 4 (UPI) -- There is "serious concern" over claims nine Afghan children were killed in a NATO airstrike, a U.N. special envoy said while calling for a thorough review.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai expressed outrage over reports that nine people were killed by international forces in an attack Tuesday. All of the victims were children, the Afghan president said.


U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, said in a statement he would personally apologize to Karzai when the Afghan president returned from London.

Radhika Coomaraswamy, U.N. special envoy for Children and Armed Conflict, said she welcomed the statements from Petraeus.

A thorough review was needed, however, "to ensure that all necessary precautions are taken to prevent children from becoming casualties in the complex and volatile situation in Afghanistan," she said in a statement.

An ISAF account of the incident Tuesday said a contractor was slightly wounded after two rockets struck a forward operating base in the region. Coalition forces returned fire on the target area with indirect and aerial fire.

Petraeus said the Tuesday attack in Kunar was "particularly distressing" because of instructions he gave to his military commanders to review tactical directives to reduce civilian casualties.


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