UN envoy calls for probe into civilian casualties in Afghanistan
Xinhua / August 23, 2008
Special envoy of UN Secretary General to Afghanistan Kai Eide Saturday condemned the reported killing of more than 70 civilians by international troops and demanded a thorough investigation.
“The United Nations has always made clear that civilian casualties are unacceptable and undermine the trust and confidence of the Afghan people,” Eide said in a statement of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
According to locals, the U.S.-led Coalition forces in air raids against the suspected hideout of militants in Shindand district of Afghanistan’s western Herat province Thursday night left more than76 civilians dead, mostly children and women, while military sources stress 30 militants were killed in the air strikes.
“It is vital that this incident is investigated thoroughly and quickly to establish the facts of what has happened before we jump to any conclusions,” the UN special envoy noted in the statement.
Earlier, Afghan President Hamid Karzai slammed the reported killing of civilians in Shindand district and ordered for thorough investigation, according to Afghan media reports.
International troops based in Afghanistan to hunt down militants had more than once committed such mistakes and harmed non-combatants. The repetition of the error has prompted Afghans, including President Karzai, to call on foreign troops to coordinate operation with Afghan authorities in order to avoid harming civilians.
More than 3,000 people, including some 800 civilians, have been killed in the Afghan violent incidents so far this year.