​NATO Strike Kills 11 Children In Remote Afghanistan​​

By: | 04/08/2021 08:58 AM ET

A NATO strike that in Afghanistan kills 11 children after they faced fire from a fierce battle between U.S.-backed Afghan forces and Taliban militants in a remote corner of eastern of the region.

In total, the airstrike left nearly 20 people dead on Sunday. The fighting along a main infiltration route from Pakistan on Saturday was indicative of a surge in hostilities as Afghanistan’s spring fighting season gets underway.

This year’s will be closely watched because Afghan forces are having to contend with less support from the international military coalition, making it a test case of their ability to take on the country’s resilient insurgency.

The U.S.-led coalition confirmed that it launched airstrikes in Kunar province where the deaths occurred, stressing that they were requested by international forces. The coalition said it was assessing the incident, but could not confirm that civilians were killed.

The battle unfolded on Saturday, the same day that a total of six Americans, including three U.S. soldiers, died in violent attacks. In addition to the U.S. adviser killed during the operation in the east, two others — a female foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department and an employee with the U.S. Defense Department — died in a suicide bombing in southern Zabul province during a trip to donate books to Afghan students.

The deaths capped one of the bloodiest weeks of the nearly 12-year-old war. On Wednesday, insurgents ambushed a courthouse in the relatively safe west, killing more than 46 people.

The remote area is one of the main points of entry for Taliban and other insurgents trying to move across the mountainous border from neighboring Pakistan, where they enjoy refuge in the lawless northwestern area.

“While the president [Karzai] strongly condemns the Taliban act of using people and their houses as shields, he also strongly condemns any operation on populated areas that results in civilian casualties,” his office said in a statement.

Karzai’s office later said 11 people were killed — all of them children — and six women were wounded.