NATO admits accidentally killing three Afghan civilians
The NATO military coalition admitted Saturday that its forces "accidentally" killed three Afghan civilians Saturday after coming under insurgent fire in Afghanistan's eastern province of Kunar, dpa reported.
The coalition forces were fired on in Tantil, a village in Kunar's Darah-e-Pech district, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said in a statement.
The combined forces returned fire with mortar rounds, the statement said. "Three or four rounds landed short of the target area, near a village. As a result, three Afghan civilians were accidentally killed and four wounded."
The killing came a day after a group of nearly 30 international aid agencies called on NATO leaders to do more to protect Afghan civilians during their anti-Taliban operations.
More civilians were killed this year than any other since the ouster of the Taliban regime in late 2001.
The Kunar incident also came as 50 world leaders from NATO and its allies in Afghanistan met in Lisbon on Saturday for a summit designed to set the date for foreign troops to start pulling out of the war- torn country.
The allied leaders have approved a plan to start pulling their troops out of front line combat in Afghanistan early in 2011, according to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who was speaking to reporters in Lisbon after a two-day summit.
However, the NATO combat forces, which peaked at 150,000 this year, are expected to remain in control of security in the most dangerous areas until 2014, and stay in a supporting role well beyond that date.