NATO accused of killing Afghan civilians
on 08/09/2013 20:10:21
Meanwhile, the Taliban staged a car bomb and gun attack outside an Afghan intelligence office near Kabul, killing four soldiers and wounding more than 80 people.
The Afghan government also reacted angrily to a comment by a US envoy who said Afghanistan is already experiencing "a civil war".
The airstrike and Taliban attack underscored the chronic insecurity in Afghanistan as US-led foreign forces reduce their presence and hand over more responsibilities to Afghan troops.
The car bombing occurred in Maidan Shahr, a city in eastern Wardak province just 25 miles from Kabul.
Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said many of the wounded were Afghan government employees working in nearby offices.
Soldiers guarding the compound managed to kill the militants after the explosion, he said. Four soldiers and five attackers died, in addition to the car bomber.
Hazrat Janan, a member of the Wardak provincial council, said the explosion wounded more than 80 people and was powerful enough to shatter windows across a wide stretch of the city.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack.
Meanwhile, conflicting reports emerged about an airstrike in the Watapur district of Kunar, a province that lies along the border with Pakistan. The territory is dangerous and difficult to reach. Many Arab and other foreign insurgents are believed to operate there alongside the Afghan Taliban. Some are suspected to have links to al-Qaida.
Kunar province police chief Abdul Habib Sayed Khaili said the airstrike hit a pickup truck carrying women and children in Qoro village soon after three Arab and three Afghan militants boarded it on Saturday evening. He said some residents called it a drone strike, which would not be unusual in that area.
The police official put the total dead at 15, saying four were women, four were children and one was the civilian driver. Afghan president Hamid Karzai's office later put the death toll at 16, saying only that women and children were among the victims.
NATO spokeswoman 1st Lt. AnnMarie Annicelli said the military alliance carried out a "precision strike" that killed 10 "enemy forces," but that it had received no reports of any civilians dying. Annicelli would not comment on whether a drone was used, but said NATO was still investigating the matter.
Tensions also arose Sunday between the US and Afghan governments over a remark by the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In a recent interview with Voice of America's Deewa news service, James Dobbins said: "Well, there already is, of course, a civil war in Afghanistan."
Mr Karzai's spokesman Aimal Faizi said that if Dobbins' assertion was true, then the US had been an actor in a civil war instead of fighting a battle against terrorism.
In what it called a "policy clarification" posted on its website, the US Embassy in Kabul said the remarks "were not intended to reflect all of the sources of conflict in Afghanistan and should be clarified as in the context of the need for Afghans to speak to Afghans in order to have a lasting peace".