Britain regrets air strike that hurt Afghan children

25th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain took responsibility Monday for a NATO helicopter attack in Afghanistan which wounded five local children, voicing "deep regret" over the incident and saying an investigation was under way.

"Any incident involving civilian casualties is a matter of deep regret and we take every possible measure to avoid such incidents," the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

"A shooting incident review is now underway and UK officials in Afghanistan are keeping the provincial governor abreast of the results of the investigation."

Earlier, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) announced that five children had been hurt in a helicopter strike in the southern province of Helmand.

The British statement said: "On 23 July, UK forces used an Apache attack helicopter to conduct a strike operation against positively identified insurgents who were seen operating in Nahr-e Saraj (south).

"Regrettably, five local children working in a neighbouring field were injured during the strike. The five children were taken to ISAF medical facilities before being taken on to Camp Bastion where they received medical care."

Camp Bastion is Britain's main base in Helmand.

The majority of Britain's 9,500 troops in Afghanistan are based in the province, which has been the deadliest for international forces fighting the nearly decade-long Taliban insurgency.

© 2011 AFP

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