(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Afghan officials are claiming that at least 20 civilians have died in two separate NATO airstrikes since last Friday.
NATO has confirmed that at least one of the assaults by its war jets against enemy targets killed six members of a single family in the Sangin area of southern Helmand province.
A spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force issued a statement that the coalition was “deeply saddened by any civilian deaths, and particularly regret incidents where civilians are killed as a result of actions by ISAF (International Security Assistance Force).”
Meanwhile, NATO is still investigating reports of an airstrike in Bala Murghab district of northwestern Badghis province that allegedly killed 14 civilians last Sunday.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly condemned coalition attacks that result in civilian deaths with tensions running particularly high this year following the slayings of 17 people allegedly at the hands of an American Army sergeant now under custody in the U.S.
Speaking out about these latest incidents, Karzai’s office issued a statement “that unilateral operations by NATO forces and bombing civilians is not only an issue of Afghan sovereignty, but it is also an issue of human life, which cannot be ignored.”
He also said the deaths of civilians threaten to undermine the Strategic Partnership Agreement signed with President Obama last week.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN