11 Mar. 2008

PR# 2008-092

Insurgents attack leads to civilian deaths

KABUL, Afghanistan – During an ISAF operation in the area of Regional Command South yesterday, a group of insurgents engaged ISAF forces who returned fire immediately. Tragically, a group of civilians received fire causing the death of two women and two children.

ISAF sincerely regrets the loss of any civilian life and is saddened that casualties were caused as a result of a deliberate attack against ISAF forces instigated by insurgents.

The ten civilians were withdrawn to a safe place and subsequently evacuated to an ISAF base where the injured child received immediate medical treatment.

 "Our hearts and minds are with people involved in this tragic incident and with the families and friends of the ones that lost their lives," said Brigadier General Carlos Branco, ISAF spokesman.

"No matter the cause, we deeply regret the loss of innocent life and injuries sustained to the civilians," he said. "We will continue to determine what happened."

ISAF Rules of Engagement (ROE) in accordance with the Law of Armed Conflict are designed to minimise the risk of civilian casualties.  ISAF never knowingly targets civilians.

While ISAF goes to great lengths to minimise the risk to the civilian population of Afghanistan, ISAF forces will always maintain the right of self defence which may include returning fire against insurgents firing positions. A number of insurgents were killed during the engagement. There were no ISAF casualties.

ISAF has initiated an investigation into this incident.

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/