29 Nov 2007

PR# 2007-723

ISAF statement on Nuristan air strike

KABUL, Afghanistan – Statement by Brig. Gen. Carlos Branco, ISAF Spokesman, regarding the Nov. 26 precision air strike targeting a Taliban leader in Nuristan Province:

"Evidence so far collected by ISAF investigators strongly points to a successful air strike earlier this week against a known Taliban leader in Nurgaram District of Nuristan Province and that there were no civilian casualties.  We took extraordinary means to ensure that the intended target and only the intended target was hit.

Post-strike reconnaissance both from the air and on the ground reveal that the closest construction encampment was more than one kilometer from the target site. There was also no construction equipment or materials at the target site which would indicate the presence of any construction workers in the area. On the night of Monday, 26 November, Afghan National Security Forces and ISAF soldiers tracked the movements of Abdullah Jan, a key Taliban leader in Nuristan and five of his followers, from a cave complex to the tent which was hit by the precision air strike. Jan had been positively identified by multiple means.

Five bodies were recovered at the target site by workers from the Amerifa road building firm on Tuesday and taken to the Nuristan District Center. We are trying to verify reports that on Tuesday, the Amerifa employees said the bodies were those of Taliban insurgents, but that on Wednesday, the employees claimed the bodies were those of their fellow workers.

The incident remains under investigation but it is our belief that once all the evidence is in, the conclusion will be a successful strike against a known Taliban leader with no civilian casualties."

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/