TOLOnews.com, October 23, 2012
NATO kills four children in Afghan East: Karzai
"As per the information by the provincial governor Mohammad Iqbal Azizi, Nato forces carried out an operation on Sunday afternoon to detain two armed militants, but resulted in killing four innocent children who were just grazing animals"
By Rezwan Natiq
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday condemned two of Nato's military operations in Logar and Zabul provinces, calling for a full investigation into both incidents following reports of civilian deaths and disappearances.
The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) responded that it is also conducting investigations into claims the Logar operation killed four children and that three civilians were missing after being detained by security forces in Zabul.
Karzai denounced the operation in Logar's Baraki Barak district, conducted on Sunday, which he was told killed four children.
"As per the information by the provincial governor Mohammad Iqbal Azizi, Nato forces carried out an operation on Sunday afternoon to detain two armed militants, but resulted in killing four innocent children who were just grazing animals," a statement from the presidential office said.
Afghan children killed in a 2011 NATO air strike (Photo: Uruknet)
Karzai stressed that despite repeated pledges by Nato to avoid civilian casualties, "innocent lives including children are still being lost in fighting a terrorism whose havens and sanctuaries remain safe outside Afghanistan's borders."
Isaf confirmed there was a military operation in the district on October 20 but it could not comment on the reports of the children's deaths.
"We are aware of the allegations and we take these the very seriously," Isaf HQ spokesperson Jamie Graybeal told TOLOnews.
"We are working very closely with the Afghan officials to determine the circumstances of these events. Once that investigation is done we will have more information."
Karzai also condemned a military operation in Zabul province carried out on October 13 because three of four civilians who were detained during the operation were still missing, according to provincial governor Mohammad Ashraf Naseri.
The president said he would send a delegation from Kabul to assist in investigating the incident if necessary.
Graybeal said the operation was a partnered operation with the Afghan security forces and confirmed that some civilians had been briefly detained.
"Three Afghans were briefly detained but they were released from our custody shortly after. We don't have any additional information on their current location," he said.
On both matters, Isaf Joint Command told TOLOnews that it took the allegations very seriously and was investigating in close coordination with Afghan officials and will release more details as appropriate.
Karzai's denouncements come a week after Isaf apologised for the death of three children in an airstrike on insurgents in the Nawa district of Helmand province.
"The coalition extends its deep regret for this tragic incident. We also extend our sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who died, and we take full responsibility for what occurred," Isaf said in a released statement on October 16.
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