NATO Rockets Kill 12 Afghan Civilians

February 15, 2010

(ChattahBox)–As the U.S. military offensive in Helmand Province continued through the weekend, 12 Afghan civilians lost their lives when a NATO rocket struck their home. All 12 civilians killed were members of the same family. NATO commander U.S. General Stanley McChrystal issued a statement, saying the type of rocket used in the attack has been suspended pending review. NATO and McChrstal apologized for the civilian casualties, but the deaths damaged previous efforts to gain the support of local tribal leaders for the massive offensive, to wipe put the Taliban from the town of Marjah.

Despite the civilian casualties, commanders in the field say that the offensive has been successful so far. On Sunday NATO and Afghan forces encountered stiff resistance from Taliban fighters in some areas.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters that it was difficult to predict the end of the offensive, but he noted that once the Taliban are removed from the area, the real work begins to restore a normal government to Helmand Province.

“This is not focused on the Taliban, and it is a strategy not just to clear the area but to hold it and then build right behind it so that there is a civilian component here and there is a local governance,” Mullen said.

See Reuters for more.

Photo Source: REUTERS/Baz Ratner


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