KABUL, Afghanistan – Nine civilians, including women and children, were killed by an air strike, Afghan police said Sunday – but NATO said only Taliban insurgents had died.
Amid different accounts of the incident, the Taliban sought to capitalize on what it described as the deaths of “the innocent people of Afghanistan.”
Abdul Habib Sayed Khail, Police Chief of Kunar Province, said 15 people were killed, nine of whom were civilian women and children.
Abdul Ghani Mosamam, spokesman for the Governor of Kunar Province, said the strike happened at around 5:30pm local time (9.30 a.m. ET) Saturday. He said the death toll was 16, made up four Taliban insurgents and 12 civilians – four men, four women and four children.
NATO spokeswoman, 1st Lt. AnnMarie Annicelli, described the incident as "a precision airstrike that killed 10 enemy forces," adding that NATO had no reports of civilian casualties.
“We are aware of reports of allegations of civilian casualties in Watahpur, Kunar,” said a NATO statement. “We take all allegations of civilian casualties seriously.
“We can confirm coalition forces conducted a precision strike yesterday in Watahpur Dist, Kunar Province, resulting in 10 enemy forces killed. At this time, we have no reports of any civilian casualties in regards to this incident. We are continuing to look into the incident and will provide updates as appropriate.”
In a statement, the Taliban said U.S.-led NATO forces had "once again killed the innocent people of Afghanistan", adding that "The Islamic Emirates are promising their people that they will be taking their revenge from the Americans."