November 6, 2008

New Report of Afghan Civilian Deaths

A new report of Afghanistan civilian deaths in a U.S. airstrike fanned more furor Thursday, officials said.

The report prompted Afghan President Hamid Karzai to call on U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to halt the attacks, CNN reported.

Afghan and NATO-led forces were investigating reports of civilian casualties in the northwestern part of the country, the U.S. military said Thursday. News reports said seven civilians and 13 Taliban were killed in an airstrike.

The U.S. military said it was aware of possible civilian casualties and was investigating.

"We take our responsibility to protect the people of Afghanistan very seriously, and we take extensive measures to avoid circumstances where

non-combatant civilians are placed at risk," Col. Greg Julian, a U.S. spokesman, said in a statement.

A U.S. military report said only that the incident may have happened Wednesday while coalition, NATO-led forces and Afghan National Security Forces were on patrol in the Ghormach district of Badghis province, which borders Turkmenistan.

The forces responded to an insurgent ambush while on patrol, the statement said.