French troops killed four Afghan civilians during a skirmish with Taliban fighters in early April, the French military acknowledged Thursday.
The incident marks the first time the French military has confirmed its forces have killed civilians in the 8-year-old Afghan war, said Adm. Christophe Prazuck, a French military spokesman. It happened in eastern Afghanistan's Kapisa province on April 6, when French troops fired a rocket at a group of about seven Taliban fighters, Prazuck said.Â Â Â Â Â
The French believed no civilians were in the area, Prazuck said. But five civilians were under a nearby tree, and four died as a result of the rocket strike. The fifth was wounded but is recovering, he said.
Civilian deaths at the hands of NATO troops have strained the relationship between Afghanistan and its Western allies in recent months.