KABUL, Afghanistan, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Afghan officials say four women and a child were among the 27 civilians killed in a NATO airstrike in Uruzgan province, The Times of London reported Tuesday.
NATO has ordered an investigation into the Sunday strike, which it said came after suspected insurgents in vehicles headed toward a coalition-Afghan force unit. The incident is not related to the current Operation Moshtarak campaign in nearby Helmand province.
The Times report said relatives of the dead civilians demanded foreign forces leave the country.
Afghan officials said 12 other civilians were wounded when three minibuses were attacked in the airstrike, the report said.
"They came here to bring security but they kill our children, they kill our brothers and they kill our people," Haji Ghullam Rasoul, whose cousins died in the attack, told the newspaper.
The Afghan Cabinet said the attack was "unjustifiable."
NATO commanders, despite the latest incident, say their new strategy is designed to protect civilians. The report said Dutch and Australian troops are deployed in Uruzgan in addition to U.S. Special Forces.
The latest development comes as the Netherlands is expected to withdraw its forces by the end of the year, following the collapse of the ruling coalition last week.
In his condolence statement, Gen. Stanley McChrystal said, "I have made it clear to our forces that we are here to protect the Afghan people, and inadvertently killing or injuring civilians undermines their trust and confidence in our mission. We will redouble our efforts to regain that trust."
The Voice of America reported at least 16 civilians, about 120 insurgents and 13 NATO troops have died in Operation Moshtarak in Helmand since it was launched Feb. 13.