World

2 killed, 10 injured in Afghanistan by errant NATO bomb

Two Afghan civilians were killed and 10 others injured after a NATO bomb went off-target on Tuesday and landed on a house.
Afghans are seen at the graves of their family members, who allegedly died in August during a U.S.-led raid in Azizabad that Afghan and UN officials say killed 90 civilians. ((Fraidoon Pooyaa/Associated Press))

Two Afghan civilians were killed and 10 others injured after a NATO bomb went off-target on Tuesday and landed on a house.

The bomb was aimed at a site in eastern Khost province used by insurgents to fire rockets. However, the weapon malfunctioned and struck a civilian house two kilometres away, according to a NATO statement.

"An immediate investigation into the cause of the incident has been launched and further details will be forthcoming once established," the alliance said.

The news came just a day after New York-based Human Rights Watch decried the number of Afghans civilians killed by "unplanned air strikes" in the country's ongoing conflict.

The report said air strikes in densely populated areas are a particular problem, and demanded the U.S. and NATO change its tactics.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has already called for a review of both the U.S. and NATO's use of air power, which has been blamed for a series of civilian deaths.

Efforts to bring peace to the troubled Asian nation will be successful only if its citizens support it, Karzai said Tuesday after attending the inauguration of Pakistan's new president, Asif Ali Zardari.

"The war against terrorism will only be won if we have the people with us. There is no other way. In order for us to have the people with us, we must avoid civilian casualties," he said.

At least 540 Afghan civilians were killed in fighting related to the conflict in the first seven months of 2008, according to Human Rights Watch.

Of that number, at least 367 died during attacks by the various insurgent forces and 173 died during U.S. or NATO attacks. At least 119 were killed by U.S. or NATO air strikes.

International forces in Afghanistan have come under increased criticism since Afghan and UN officials found that a U.S.-led military operation in the village of Azizabad in August killed 90 civilians, including dozens of children.

With files from the Associated Press