TWELVE Afghan civilians – ten children and two women – and one NATO soldier have been killed in an operation carried out by US-led International Security Assistant Force (ISAF)ISAF forces in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Kunar, local witnesses said yesterday.
A further six women were injured in the incident in Shigal district, Kunar province.
Villagers and local officials said that a roof of a house collapsed during an air strike, causing the casualties.
Local witnesses in Kunar said NATO forces launched a ground attack and an airstrike on the Shigal area.
Meanwhile, Kunar provincial officials said the US-led forces claimed that the attack had been carried out to target militants.
One ISAF soldier was also killed in the operation.
NATO confirmed that ‘fire support’ was used in Shigal but claimed it did not have any reports of civilian deaths.
In a statement, ISAF said it was ‘aware of several civilians injured from the engagement’ on Saturday and was currently assessing the incident.
It added that the air strike ‘was called in by coalition forces, not Afghans, and was used to engage insurgent forces in areas away from structures’.
• US Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday warned Iran that talks on its nuclear programme cannot last forever, after a new round failed to make progress.
After arriving in Istanbul, at the start of a ten-day trip to the Middle East, Europe and Asia, he said: ‘This is not an interminable process.’
Two days of talks with Iran in Almaty, Kazakhstan, ended yesterday with no agreement.
Kerry said US President Obama is committed to continuing the diplomatic process with Iran despite what he called the ‘complicating factor’ of elections there in June.
Tehran, which insists its intentions are peaceful, is negotiating with the so-called P5+1 group comprising the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, Russia, China, the UK and France, plus Germany.