Coalition, Afghan forces investigate possible civilian casualties

News and Press Release
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American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2008 - Coalition, NATO International Security Assistance Force and Afghan officials are investigating possible civilian casualties during incidents in Afghanistan yesterday and Nov. 3, military officials reported.

The incident yesterday occurred while forces were responding to an insurgent ambush on a route-clearance patrol in the Ghormach district of Badghis province.

"The coalition, ISAF and Afghan authorities are investigating reports of noncombatant casualties in the Ghormach district last night," said Army Col. Greg Julian, a U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman. "We do not know all the facts at this time, but we will investigate this situation to get to the truth. We take our responsibility to protect the people of Afghanistan very seriously, and we take extensive measures to avoid circumstances where noncombatant civilians are placed at risk.

"If we find that innocent people were killed in this incident, we apologize and express our sincere condolences to the families and the people of Afghanistan," Julian continued. "We are contacting Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior personnel to initiate a joint investigation quickly."

The Nov. 3 incident happened in the Shah Wali Kott district of Kandahar province. Coalition and Afghan authorities are investigating reports of noncombatant casualties in the village of Wech Baghtu, said Navy Cmdr. Jeff Bender of U.S. Forces Afghanistan. Bender said the coalition has dispatched personnel to the site to assess the situation and take appropriate actions.

(Compiled from U.S. Forces Afghanistan news releases.)