U.S.-LED AIRSTRIKE KILLS 7 AFGHAN CHILDREN
Seven children were killed in a U.S.-led coalition airstrike targeting suspected al-Qaida militants in eastern Afghanistan, a coalition statement said Monday. The strike came hours after the deadliest insurgent attack since the Taliban fell in 2001.
Police said Monday they had detained a suspect in connection with the deadly suicide bombing that destroyed a bus full of police instructors at Kabul’s busiest transportation hub, killing 35 people and wounding 52.
In an operation backed by Afghan troops, jets on Sunday targeted a compound that also contained a mosque and a madrassa, or Islamic school, in the Zarghun Shah district of Paktika province. Early reports indicated seven children at the madrassa and “several militants” were killed, and two militants detained, the statement said.
Coalition troops had “surveillance on the compound all day and saw no indications there were children inside the building,” said Maj. Chris Belcher, a coalition spokesman. He accused the militants of not letting the children leave the compound that was targeted.
“If we knew that there were children inside the building, there was no way that that airstrike would have occurred,” said Sgt. 1st Class Dean Welch, another coalition spokesman.
The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said it has sent a team with the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission to investigate the incident.