Conflict & Justice

US-led coalition apologizes for Afghanistan strike that killed child


Afghan President Hamid Karzai (C) arrives to address the Afghan Loya Jirga, a meeting of around 2,500 Afghan tribal elders and leaders, on November 21, 2013 in Kabul.



The US-led International Security Assistance Force has officially apologized for an airstrike in Afghanistan's Helmand province that was intended to kill an insurgent on a motorbike, but instead killed both the target and a young child, and injuring two women. 

In an online statement, ISAF said that it "deeply regrets any civilian casualties" and stated that — in addition to the targeted insurgent — a child was killed, and two women injured. 

The apology was extended to Twitter: 

In the official statement, ISAF added that it was "committed" to avoiding civilian casualties, and added that its coalition officials would be working in concert with their Afghan counterparts to "determine what happened and why." 

More from GlobalPost: President Karzai denounces 'deadly US air strike'

On Thursday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai publicly denounced the air strike, claiming that the attack was proof that "US forces have no respect for the decisions of the Loya Jirga (grand assembly) and life of civilians in Afghanistan," adding that the US forces were killing civilians "like flies." 

Deadly accidental attacks on civilians are an extremely sensitive subject in Afghanistan, where the Loya Jirga meeting of elders recently approved a US-Afghanistan security agreement permitting US troops to remain beyond 2014 in a more limited role, according to AFP. 

The agreement is not a done deal, however, as President Karzai has demanded conditions including the release of Afghan prisoner from the Guantanamo Bay detention center, as well as an end to raids on Afghan private homes — and fewer attacks that result in civilian deaths.