Kunar Governor, Fazulah Wahidi claims that 64 Aghan civilians were killed during NATO strkes in the Eastern Afghan Province of Kunar. According to Wahidi the dead include 20 women and 29 children or young adults aged between 7 and 20.
"They were killed by ground and air strikes in Ghazi Abad district," Fazlullah Wahidi, governor of Kunar province, told Reuters on Sunday.
While NATO admits to raids to engage some 30 insurgents in the province, it said that it was not aware of any civilians killed. A NATO spokesman said that they had engaged approximately 30 insurgents on Saturday night. While they were not aware of any civilians killed, NATO said it was investigating media reports that seven civilians had been wounded.
A second statement issue on Sunday stated that an unknown number of insurgents, in two separarate operations, were engaged with small arms fire and air strikes. Initial reports indicated that there were no civilian casualties.
Afghan Presidenthas long complained about the inordinate amount of civilian casualties. As a result rules for air strikes were tightened significantly during the past two years, reducing these type of casualties.
These latest incidents, if proven to be correct, will not contribute to the progress of winning the hearts and mind. Even if not confirmed, perception is reality.
While some progress seems to have been made in the Southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, insurgents have concentrated additional efforts in other provinces, which were deemed to be safe.