ISAF Joint Command – Afghanistan
For Immediate Release
The following statement is by Major General John Toolan, Commander Regional Command Southwest, International Security Assistance Force.
KABUL, Afghanistan (May 30, 2011) – On behalf of the coalition, the Commander of the International Security Assistance Force General Petraeus, and Commander of the ISAF Joint Command Lieutenant General Rodriguez I want to offer my sincere apologies for the nine civilians who were killed during the incident in Now Zad District, Helmand province that occurred on 28 May.
Any loss of life is a true tragedy and I extend my personal condolences to the families and friends of the U.S. Marine, and to the people of Afghanistan for those who were killed or injured.
The coalition takes each civilian injury or death extremely seriously. It is our top priority to prevent civilian causalities and we continue to improve our practices and strive to prevent these types of incidents from happening.
As our investigation continues, here is the information we have up to this point.
Yesterday, a coalition patrol was attacked by insurgents in the Now Zad district, Helmand province. This insurgent attack resulted in a coalition Marine being killed in action. Subsequently, the five insurgents occupied and continued to attack again from a compound and in the ensuing battle an airstrike was called to neutralize the threat.
Unfortunately, the compound the insurgents purposefully occupied was later discovered to house innocent civilians.
A full investigation is ongoing to determine the exact details of this incident. While I know there is no price on human life we will ensure that we make amends with the families in accordance with Afghan culture.
Again, on behalf of the coalition, I offer our heartfelt apologies to the families and friends of those killed. I ask that the Afghan people continue to trust and assist their security forces, so that together we can stop the senseless killing brought upon us by an enemy who wants to exploit the Afghan people through fear and violence.