Ten civilians killed in airstrike in Afghanistan

Other News Materials 4 February 2008 14:53 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - An airstrike conducted by international forces against a suspected Taliban commander in south-western Afghanistan killed ten civilians, including women and children, provincial authorities said.

The raid took place in Bakwa district of the south-western province of Farah on Sunday night after the combined Afghan and international forces targeted a house in which Mullah Abdul Manan, a Taliban commander, was hiding, provincial police chief Khialbaz Sherzai told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

He said that seven members of a family - one woman, two children and four men - were killed in the raid, while Khan Agha, district police chief of Bakwa district, said that ten civilians were killed.

It was not immediately clear if Mullah Manan was among the dead or whether he was inside the house. Due to the remoteness of the area, it was difficult to independently verify the death toll.

Civilian casualties have become a great concern for the Western- backed Afghan government.

President Hamid Karzai has pleaded several times with the international forces in the country to avoid civilian death during their operations, warning them that it would erode the public support for the central government.