McChrystal Visits Site of Airstrike, Pledges Inquiry

Promises public investigation in televised address
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2009 12:32 PM CDT
Afghan soldiers and police inspect the site where villagers reportedly died when American jets bombed fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban, outside Kunduz, Afghanistan, Sept. 5, 2009.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
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(Newser) – Gen. Stanley McChrystal visited the site of a NATO airstrike today that killed scores of Aghan civilians and made an unprecedented televised address in which he promised a full public inquiry, Reuters reports. “Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of the Afghan people,” said the US commander. "I take this possible loss of life or injury to innocent Afghans very seriously."

NATO officials, meanwhile, met with victims and their families to offer condolences. The attack—planes bombed fuel trucks thought to be commandeered by the Taliban—has drawn widespread criticism in Afghanistan and Europe, and may fuel anti-war sentiment in Germany. But the governor of Kunduz province blamed the villagers, saying they “paid a price for helping and sheltering the insurgents.”