Nato helicopter fire reportedly kills two children along with nine suspected Taliban fighters near the town of Ghazni. Read this story on the Guardian here.
Nato helicopter fire reportedly kills two children along with nine suspected Taliban fighters near the town of Ghazni
A Nato helicopter has reportedly killed two children during an attack on Taliban fighters.The helicopter opened fire as it supported Afghan soldiers near the town of Ghazni in south-east Afghanistan, despite president Hamid Karzai forbidding troops to call for foreign air support.
Afghan police had been patrolling in Ghazni when they came under attack by insurgents, Nato spokesman Major Adam Wojack said.
“International Security Assistance Forces [ISAF] supported the Afghan unit in contact by engaging the insurgent forces with helicopter-delivered direct fire,” he said, adding that ISAF was investigating reports of civilian casualties.
Nine Taliban fighters were killed and eight civilians were wounded, according to senior Afghan police detective Colonel Mohammad Hussain.
A Reuters reporter saw the bodies of two children, whom local people said had been killed in the air strike.
Last month Karzai forbade Afghan forces from calling for Nato air support and Nato from striking “in Afghan homes or villages” after an air strike that killed 10 civilians.
Civilian casualties caused by air strikes are a significant source of friction between Karzai and his international allies as Washington and Kabul negotiate over the size of a future US military presence after most international troops depart by the end of 2014.
Some Afghan officials say privately that limiting air strikes exposes the 352,000-strong Afghan security forces to greater danger as they take over the responsibilities of international forces.
Foreign air power is especially critical to cover the mountainous regions near the Pakistani border.