May 29, 2011
NATO attack helicopters launched missiles at a pair of homes in the Helmand Province yesterday, destroying both homes and killing large numbers of innocent civilians inside. Among the slain were two women and 12 children (external - login to view), some as young as two years of age. Six other civilians were also wounded.
According to Helmand’s governor, the strike came when a US Marine base came under fire from unidentified insurgents. There was no indication that the insurgents were near the homes that were attacked, however.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack as “arbitrary and unnecessary” and issued what he called a “final warning” for NATO to stop all air stirkes against civilian areas (external - login to view).
NATO has promised that it will investigate the killings (external - login to view), but their official statement on the incident said only that they fired the missiles after an attack “by insurgents” and that no casualties were reported.