Afghanistan: Drone crew rebuked for civilian deaths

Kabul, 29 May (AKI) - The US military has reprimanded the six operators of an unmanned drone aircraft which mistakenly targeted a civilian convoy in Afghanistan. At least 23 people were killed in the attack in Uruzgan province on 21 February.

It was the deadliest missile strike for Afghan civilians in six months and provoked a strong rebuke from Afghan president Hamid Karzai.

Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, who is struggling to win broad support among Afghans to defeat the Taliban, apologised for the drone attack.

An investigation has found that warnings that the convoy was not an attacking force were ignored while the commander was not sure precisely who was in the vehicles.

Civilian deaths by foreign troops have caused widespread resentment across Afghanistan.

In the February attack, troops found that a number of women and children were among the victims.

A US military investigation said the order to attack was based on inaccurate information from the crew monitoring the convoy from an Air Force base in Nevada and on flawed analysis by NATO commanders.


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