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NATO Airstrike in Afghanistan Kills 8 Women

"Protecting Afghan lives is the cornerstone of our mission": ISAF spokesman

- Common Dreams staff

A NATO airstrike has killed at least 8 women and girls and injured at least 7 females in the eastern province of Laghman while they were collecting firewood on Sunday, Afghan officials say.

(U.S. Air Force photo) Villagers from the province brought the bodies to the provincial capital of Mehterlam, the Associated Press reports.

Seven injured females were also brought to the hospital, some as young as 10, according to news agencies.

The BBC reports that NATO acknowledged that civilians were killed in the strike.

"Unfortunately, we have become aware of possible Isaf-caused civilian casualties as a result of this strike, numbering five - eight Afghans," Major Adam Wojack, a spokesman for the Isaf international forces, told the BBC.

"Isaf offers its sincerest condolences to the affected community and family members, as well as to the Afghan people, concerning this tragic loss of life," said Wojack.

The Associated Press adds that another spokesman for the international military in Afghanistan, Jamie Graybeal, was "saddened" by the civilian collateral damage.

"Protecting Afghan lives is the cornerstone of our mission and it saddens us when we learn that our action might have unintentionally harmed civilians," said Graybeal.

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