Gates Apologizes for Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan

US defense secretary expresses 'personal regret' over wayward airstrikes
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2008 12:43 PM CDT
Gates and U.S. Army Major General Jeffrey Schloesser.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in Afghanistan today, apologized for recent civilian casualties from military operations, the AP reports. While the US strives for precision in airstrikes against Taliban insurgents, “it is clear that we have to work even harder,” Gates said—even as the coalition commander said the reliance on air power was due to an inadequate force on the ground.

"As I told them,” Gates said after meeting with Afghan president Hamid Karzai and others, “I offer all Afghans my sincere condolences and personal regret for the recent loss of innocent life as a result of coalition airstrikes."