On Video: U.S Army Lt. General – and ISAF commander – apologizes for the deaths of nine children Tuesday in Afghanistan

In a rare video apology, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez offers “sincere apologies” for the accidental deaths of nine children Tuesday, in what he called a “seemingly inconceivable tragedy. Rodriguez, who leads the International Security Forces Afghanistan Joint Command, said attack helicopters fired in response to a rocket attack, but that those killed were “simply boys who had been cutting wood.”

From the ISAF press release:

ISAF Apologizes, Accepts Responsibility for Civilian Casualties
International Security Assistance Force Headquarters

KABUL, Afghanistan (March 2, 2011) – Preliminary findings from a Joint Incident Assessment Team indicate that International Security Assistance Forces accidentally killed nine civilians in Darah-Ye Pech district, Kunar province yesterday.

The incident occurred following insurgent rocket attacks on FOB Blessing. Coalition forces returned fire at the assessed point of origin with indirect and aerial fire. Regrettably there appears to have been an error in the hand-off between identifying the location of the insurgents and the attack helicopters that carried out subsequent operations.

“We are deeply sorry for this tragedy and apologize to the members of the Afghan government, the people of Afghanistan and most importantly, the surviving family members of those killed by our actions,” said General David. H. Petraeus, Commander of International Security Assistance Force. “These deaths should have never happened and I will personally apologize to President Karzai when he returns from his trip to London this week.”

Read the full press release at isaf.nato.int

View the apology in Dari