Afghan investigation – heli crew grounded, ground commander suspended

Afghan investigation – heli crew grounded, ground commander suspended

17-Mar-2011 Source: ISAF Joint Command

KABUL, Afghanistan – The International Security Assistance Force has launched an investigation into an operation in Kunar province Monday which may have resulted in two Afghan children being mistakenly killed.

An ISAF Joint Command and Afghan incident assessment team went to Kunar province today to look into this incident. The assessment team interviewed ISAF and Afghan officials and reviewed footage from all aerial platforms. The air weapons team may have unintentionally engaged civilians who were working on field and road drainage.

The ISAF Joint Command Commander has suspended the ground force commander, grounded the helicopter crew involved and directed a formal investigation into this incident.

“I cannot overstate how seriously we take all instances of civilian casualties. I take personal interest in every case, and have recently ordered a review of our tactical directive on the use of force by all aircrews of attack helicopters,” said General David H. Petraeus, Commander of International Security Assistance Force. “We will take all necessary steps to get to the bottom of this. We know we cannot succeed if we harm the people we are striving to protect.”

The details from this assessment are not final; however, the results of the formal investigation could lead to disciplinary action for those involved. Previous investigations on other incidents in Kunar are currently under final legal review.

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