Afghan officials claim that a NATO strike Saturday killed 15 people, including nine civilians. The strike took place in the Watapur district of the eastern Afghan province of Kunar.
According to a NATO spokesperson, 1st Lt. AnnMarie Annicelli, the "only" deaths, NATO's "precision air-strikes" were 10 insurgents. If ultimately NATO change their position it will not be the first time. NATO air strikes have killed civilians previously. Annicelli had no information for the media however regarding the reason for the air-strikes or who was killed.
The BBC reports that Taliban attacks are rife in the Kunar province which lies close to the border with Pakistan. "Police in Kunar told the BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul that the airstrike had hit a pick-up truck soon after three Arab and three Afghan militants boarded it in the village of Gambir in the remote and mountainous Peach River Valley in Watapur district on Saturday evening. Officials say that women and children were among the casualties."
NATO forces are scheduled to exit Afghanistan by the end of 2014 but the country is far from settled. Attacks by insurgents continue to plague some areas of the country. Local Afghan forces are gradually taking over military responsibility of their country but have limited means of launching air-strikes. This means NATO is still activley launching air-strikes.
The fact that these air-strikes have killed civilians has caused tension in the country. Early in 2013 NATO forces were accused of killing 10 civilians in night air-strikes in the Kunar province. This led to President Hamid Karazi angrily banning NATO air-strikes in residential areas of the country.
According to the United Nations "About 1,000 Afghan civilians have been killed and more than 2,000 wounded in the first half of this year - most of them in insurgent attacks. This represents a 23% increase in casualties compared with the same period last year.
In separate incidents in Afghanistan this weekend "at least four intelligence staff and six civilians were killed by suicide attackers in Wardak province."