Joint assessment team confirms possibility of civilian casualties in Baghlan

ISAF Joint Command
Courtesy Story

Date: 08.29.2010
Posted: 08.29.2010 09:14
News ID: 55350

KABUL - In response to Baghlan provincial governor's concerns about civilian casualties, a joint assessment team composed of representatives from the ministries of interior and defense, and International Security Assistance Force officials, conducted a full assessment of an operation on Aug. 22 in Talah wa Barfak District, Baghlan province.

The team determined that several rounds from coalition helicopters fell short, missing the intended target and instead striking two buildings, which may have resulted in civilian casualties.

Insurgents were using the building as a base of operations; however, it was not the intended target.

The team discovered the accidental short rounds during an examination of the air weapons team video. The assessment determined a gun site malfunction was the cause of the errant rounds.

"We regret any possible civilian loss of life or injury. Our first objective is to protect the people of Afghanistan, and in this case we may have failed," said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Timothy M.
Zadalis, ISAF Joint Command director of plans and projects and team lead. "Our thoughts and concerns are with the family and friends of those civilians who may have been injured or killed."

During their assessment, the team received operational briefings, met with the provincial governor and chief of police and reviewed weapons-system video.

Initial reports from the ground operation indicated 13 insurgents were killed, with no civilian casualties, however close examination of the weapons system video showed the errant rounds striking the unintended buildings.

"This is exactly why we send assessment teams to look into all civilian casualty allegations," said Zadalis. "We want to be sure we understand exactly what happened, review all information available and set the record straight."