Afghanistan NATO jets mistakenly killed at least 21 people in central Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Monday, the deadliest attack on civilians in six months. The strike prompted a sharp rebuke from the Afghan government as it struggles to win public backing for a major military offensive against the Taliban in south.
Also Monday, a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a community meeting in eastern Afghanistan, killing 15 civilians including a prominent tribal leader widely criticized for failing to prevent Osama bin Laden’s escape at Tora Bora after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The civilian deaths occurred as 15,000 NATO, U.S. and Afghan soldiers were in their 10th day of fighting insurgents in the southern town of Marjah in Helmand province. The mission is to rout the Taliban, set up a local government and rush in aid to win public support.