The commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan has seen for himself the aftermath of Friday’s deadly air strike in Kunduz.
General Stanley McChrystal is trying to cool Afghan anger that is threatening to undermine his strategy of winning hearts and minds. NATO has launched an inquiry into the attack which killed at least 90 people. Visiting victims in hospital, McChrystal admitted civilians had likely been caught up in the strike. “I clearly don’t know all the facts now and would not want to affect a potential investigation by making some conclusion that would be inappropriate. But, from what I have seen today, and going to the hospital, it is clear to me that there were some civilians who were harmed at that site,” McChrystal said. Two fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban were struck after German troops called in US warplanes. Berlin says the trucks posed a real danger. “The situation for our commander was that the fuel trucks were in the hands of the Taliban. There was a clear threat to our camp. After it was confirmed that they were indeed Taliban, the air support was requested,” said German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung. Despite McChrystal demanding NATO troops take more care to protect the Afghan population, elders in the northern province said 120 people had been buried in nearby villages.