U.S. Accepts Responsibility for Khost Civilian Casualties
Thursday, April 09, 2009 at 10:23 am
In fairness, this was a rapidly issued apology (near-apology?) by U.S. Forces-Afghanistan. Here’s the statement in full, which I received 20 minutes ago:
Coalition Forces offer condolences following non-combatant deaths in Khost
KABUL, Afghanistan – Further inquiries into the Coalition and ANSF operation in Khost earlier today suggest that the people killed and wounded were not enemy combatants as previously reported.
During the operation to capture militants linked to insurgent activities in the area, a local family near the targeted enemy’s location fired upon the combined forces. The combined forces returned fire, killing two males, two females and wounding two females. There are reports of an infant also killed.
Coalition and Afghan forces do not believe that this family was involved with militant activities and that they were defending their home against an unknown threat.
The joint investigation will continue.
Coalition forces are working closely with local Afghan officials and family members to express condolences and provide assistance in the aftermath of this tragic event.
“We deeply regret the tragic loss of life in this precious family. Words alone cannot begin to express our regret and sympathy and we will ensure the surviving family members are properly cared for,” said Brig. Gen. Michael A. Ryan, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.
I’m still unclear as to whether the policy is to apologize first or investigate first; it seems to be the latter. Still, this release, accepting responsibility for the civilian deaths, came barely four hours after USFOR-A’s announcement than an investigation had begun.
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