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NATO apologises over Afghan deaths in air strike

10 june 2012, 12:57
ISAF Commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Allen. ©REUTERS/Larry Downing
ISAF Commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Allen. ©REUTERS/Larry Downing
The US commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan has apologised over the deaths of civilians in an air strike this week, AFP reports citing a spokesman.

General John Allen flew to Logar province "to see local leaders and the population to apologise and offer condolences to the families", Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson told AFP.

This is the first public acknowledgement by NATO that civilians died in the air strike on a home in the province in the early hours of Wednesday.

Afghan officials said 18 civilians, including women and children, were killed.

President Hamid Karzai has expressed his outrage, cutting short a visit to Beijing to return home.

"Attacks by NATO that cause life and property losses to civilians under no circumstances could be justified and are not acceptable," Karzai said of the attack.

NATO's US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) initially reported that "multiple insurgents" were killed in the strike, which was ordered after troops came under fire during an operation against a Taliban insurgent leader.

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