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France questions civilian deaths in NATO strike

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner called today for “full light” to be shed on the circumstances and number of civilian deaths from a NATO air strike in Afghanistan.

world Updated: Sep 06, 2009 19:10 IST

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner called today for “full light” to be shed on the circumstances and number of civilian deaths from a NATO air strike in Afghanistan.

“The priority is to shed the full light on the circumstances and the definitive toll of this operation,” Kouchner said in a statement.

The US commander of foreign troops in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, on Saturday promised a full investigation into the NATO bombings, but stopped short of admitting that civilians had been killed.

An Afghan governor said six civilians including a child were among the 54 people killed in the raid on two fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban in Kunduz province on Friday.

A driver of one of the trucks and his son were killed separately by the Taliban, Mohammad Omar, governor of Kunduz province, told AFP.

Kouchner yesterday had described the air strikes as “a big mistake” and stressed that the West’s strategy in Afghanistan must be to “work with the Afghan people, not bomb them.”

“We must avoid this, we must investigate and denounce those responsible,” he said in Stockholm at a meeting with EU counterparts.