Coalition forces killed three Afghan civilians and wounded four others when mortars it fired missed insurgents and landed near a village, Nato said yesterday.
A Nato statement said that the deaths occurred on Friday when coalition troops came under fire in the Pech district of Kunar province. “When coalition forces returned fire, three or four rounds landed short of the target area, near a village, killing and wounding the civilians,” it said.
US Army Colonel Rafael Torres, director of the Nato operations centre in Kabul, said: “We do everything within our power to prevent civilian casualties in the course of operations. In this case, we failed. Our thoughts and concerns are with the families.”Afghan president Hamid Karzai has repeatedly criticised civilian casualties caused by US and Nato operations. Yesterday he highlighted the importance of reducing civilian deaths, while at a Nato summit in Lisbon, Portugal.
The number of Afghan civilians killed or injured in the war soared 31% in the first six months of the year.