A coalition commander offered his alliance's "sincere apologies" Sunday for an airstrike that he said killed nine civilians in southern Afghanistan.
Maj. Gen. John Toolan, the head of the International Security Assistance Force's command in southwest Afghanistan, said his apology was being made "on behalf of the coalition" and its top leaders, including U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus. He pleaded with Afghans to not only forgive, but also to work with coalition forces in hopes of bolstering their security.
"I offer our heartfelt apologies to the families and friends of those killed," Toolan said in a statement. "I ask that the Afghan people continue to trust and assist their security forces, so that together we can stop the senseless killing brought upon us by an enemy who wants to exploit the Afghan people through fear and violence."
Earlier, Afghan and NATO officials said that Saturday's attack in Helmand province killed a dozen children and two women. There was no immediate explanation for the disparity between this figure and the toll of nine civilians killed offered Sunday by Toolan, who also noted that a U.S. Marine was killed immediately before the strike.FULL STORY