Afghan officials say that five children are among the ten civilians killed by a US/NATO missile attack in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday.
"Four women and five children were killed, and five children wounded. One man, who was the leader of the family, was also killed, according to reports from the site," a man named Farid told The Guardian's local correspondent by telephone. Farid is the chief of staff to the governor of Kunar Province, where the missile strike took place.
As Reuters reports:
The strike, in the Shigal district of Kunar province, was confirmed by NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), though a spokesman said it could not confirm civilian casualties.
"Foreign forces carried out the attack by themselves without informing us," Kunar Governor Fazlullah Wahidi told Reuters.
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The suspected drone attack, though not confirmed in all its details due to the remote nature of the village where it occurred, took place just hours after President Obama delivered his State of the Union address in Washington.
Though the president said troop "drawdowns" would continue and the "war in Afghanistan would come to an end in 2014," Obama made clear that counter-terrorism efforts, like the drone targeting program behind strikes such as this that have claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent people in recent years, will be very much a part of the ongoing military and counter-terrorism campaign in the region.
As many experts contend, however, the continued use of missile attacks from remotely-controlled US drones that kill innocent civilians--and often children--are only exacerbating instability, fueling anger, and prolonging violent conflict in Afghanistan and wherever such methods are deployed.
In this particular case, as The Guardian reports: "The Nato-led coalition declined to confirm whether there had been an air strike in the area overnight, saying only that it was looking into allegations of civilian casualties."