A NATO airstrike targeting insurgents inadvertently hit two civilian homes in the volatile southwestern Helmand province, killing 12 children and two women, an Afghan government official said today. He said the alliance launched the airstrike late yesterday in retaliation for an attack earlier in the day on a US Marine base. A NATO spokesman said a joint coalition and Afghan delegation was traveling to the site to investigate.
Afghan President Karzai blamed American troops for airstrikes that killed the 14 women and children and two men, injuring of six other civilians. "We have told the Americans and NATO forces several times that uncoordinated operations will result in the killing of innocent civilians and that such operations are inhumane, but still no one has listened," Karzai said today, adding that his condemnation would be "the last warning to NATO forces, American forces, and American officials."