Last Updated 8/16 9:25 PM EST
NATO forces launched an air strike in Nad Ali District, Helmand Province early this afternoon. According to local officials, the attack killed between 25 and 30 civilians. Local residents took some of the bodies to Lashkar Gah to complain to the governor about the killings. NATO said it was “aware of an incident,” but declined to confirm any civilian casualties as of yet.
It is unclear which NATO member launched the air strike, but during reported protests in Lashkar Gah this afternoon angry locals condemned the Afghan government and British forces. District Chief Mahboob Khan said the anger was even more widespread however, and while they are “busy burying their family members now … tomorrow, they will demand to know why their houses were targeted.” Provincial Police Chief Assadullah Sherzad confirmed the air strike, but was unable to vouch for the number killed.
Helmand has been the source of considerable fighting over the past few days, with provincial capital Lashkar Gah coming under significant Taliban attacks twice recently. The province is the center of Britain’s military presence in Afghanistan, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai has blamed British “interference” for surging violence in the province.
If confirmed, this would be the largest number of Afghan civilians killed in a single NATO attack since late August’s infamous Herat strike, in which US forces killed at least 90 civilians in an attack based on faulty intelligence.