33 Civilians Killed in Afghan Airstrike
Women, children among victims in bombed minibuses
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Feb 22, 2010 1:47 AM CST
Updated Feb 22, 2010 6:00 AM CST
A US Marine takes runs through a field after igniting a smoke grenade to mark a landing zone for a US Army Task Force Pegasus helicopter during a medevac mission in Marjah.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – At least 33 civilians, including women and children, were killed yesterday when a NATO airstrike obliterated a group of minibuses traveling along a road in the midst of the Marjah offensive. Officials believed the vehicles were carrying insurgents on their way to attack allied forces. Some 14 people were wounded in the attack. The Afghanistan Council of Ministers blasted the airstrike as "unjustifiable."

The tragedy has further inflamed an Afghan population already upset by earlier civilian victims, reports AP. "We are extremely saddened by the tragic loss of innocent lives," said NATO commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal. "I have made it clear to our forces that we are here to protect the Afghan people."