NATO strike kills 27 civilians; third apology in a week

Mark Dodd; 23/2/10

A NATO airstrike has killed at least 27 civilians in the third such mistaken bombing raid in Afghanistan in a week and forcing another apology last night from the top US commander in the country. Four women and a child were among the civilians killed yesterday when they were attacked after being mistaken for Taliban militants who are waging an eight-year insurgency to evict Western troops. The top ground commander, Stanley McChrystal, last night apologised for the incident to President Hamid Karzai, who has repeatedly warned foreign and Afghan forces to take all measures possible to avoid harming civilians. The airstrike came days after NATO forces pressing a major offensive in the south killed at least nine Afghan civilians when a rocket slammed into a house — for which General McChrystal also apologised.