Civilians were killed in Laghman airstrike: Investigator
20 September, 2012
JALALABAD: All the people killed during a NATO airstrike in the Alingar district of eastern Laghman province were civilians, investigators claimed on Wednesday, insisting no armed insurgent was among the fatalities.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has already confirmed eight civilian deaths, all women, in the air raid. Several other women, collecting firewood in mountains, were wounded.
The incident drew strong denunciation from President Hamid Karzai, who ordered a delegation, led by MP Shujaul Mulk Jalala, to investigate the incident. The team includes officials from defence and interior ministries, the spy service and members of regional organs.
On his return to Kabul from Alingar on Wednesday, Jalala told Pajhwok Afghan News they had held meetings with local officials, tribal elders and families of the victims.
Seven women were killed in the airstrike, while a child died of heart failure due to fear, he said.
Another 19 women and children injured in the attack were evacuated to hospitals in Mehtarlam, the capital of Laghman, and Jalalabad, the capital of neighbouring Nangarhar, the investigator added.
The Wolesi Jirga member said there was no insurgent in the area at the time of the airstrike, which prompted an ISAF apology to the people of Afghanistan. Jalala said they would present their findings to the president later in the day.
Former senator and tribal elder Abdul Khaliq Hussaini said Karzai had phoned a tribal elder in the area, Mehmood Talib, and expressed his grief over the civilian deaths.
The Laghman governor's spokesman, Sarhadi Zwak, said the visiting delegation met the governor, his deputy, tribal elders, the victims' relatives and foreign troops during the past couple of days.