Dozens of Afghan Civilians Killed In NATO Tanker Strike

Blast hit Taliban-hijacked fuel tankers, triggering explosion
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2009 4:38 AM CDT
NATO launched an air strike on two fuel tankers hijacked by Taliban militants in northern Afghanistan, sparking a huge blast that killed up to 90 people, including 40 civilians.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – At least 90 people were killed in northern Afghanistan today when a NATO air strike hit two fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban, setting off a massive explosion. At least 40 of the dead were civilians, said officials. Many more people are injured, and the local hospital in Kunduz province is overflowing with burn victims, reports the BBC.

Taliban representatives say they stole the tankers last night but got stuck as they tried to cross a river. The Taliban then decided to empty the tankers, and villagers arrived to obtain some of the fuel when the air strike took place. Gen. Stanley McChrystal recently warned that civilian casualties were undermining the war effort, and today's incident may trigger further opposition to foreign troops.
(Read more Taliban stories.)