ISAF denies killing 50 civilians in Afghanistan

July 18th, 2008 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Kabul, July 18 (DPA) International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) officials in Kabul Friday strongly rejected claims that more than 50 civilians were killed by allied forces in Farmakan and Bakhtabad villages in the Shindand area of the western province of Herat. “The claims originated in the media from the tribal elder Haji Zalmai and District Chief Mullah Lal Muhammad who said that more than 50 civilians had reportedly been killed in the villages of Farmakan and Bakhtabad Thursday. Our extensive investigation reveals that the closest airstrikes carried out were 13 km to the southeast of these villages,” an ISAF statement said.

“ISAF therefore rejects these claims as baseless,” the statement added.

“ISAF always operates giving the highest importance to protecting civilians, and deeply regrets any instances where civilians are mistakenly injured or killed,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, another ISAF statement said an ISAF soldier under NATO command died from non-combat-related causes in southern Helmand province.

The statement, issued late Thursday, said the “incident is currently under investigation” and did not reveal the nationality of the dead soldier.

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