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Nato admits to killing civilians in Pakistan

June 25, 2007


KABUL, June 24: The Nato-led force in Afghanistan admitted on Sunday that civilians in Pakistan had been killed in recent strikes against militants who had been seen near the border preparing for an attack.

A Pakistan military official said at least nine civilians were killed in a tribal area when a rocket fired by foreign forces hit their home.

Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said about 60 militants were killed in the operation. Follow-up investigations found civilian casualties were among the dead, it said.

“We have reports that one of our weapons hit a building which may have had a number of civilians in it and that building may have been a home or way-station or some hotel facility,” Isaf spokesman Major John Thomas told AFP.

“We regret the loss of innocent life and our prayers are with the families of those who died.” The strikes had been carried out in coordination with the Pakistani military which was also involved in the investigation to find out how civilians were killed, he said.

The force had crossed the border mistakenly, Thomas said.

“As it turns out some of the events did occur across the border as the insurgents we were tracking were moving,” he told AFP.

“Of course there is no line drawn in the sand on the border — it is not always easy to tell quickly if you are across it.”Isaf said on Saturday the militants had fired at military aircraft and were preparing to attack a base near the border. When they came under fire, they had turned to run across the frontier.—AFP