U-S military officials in Afghanistan have promised a formal investigation after acknowledging that civilians had been mistakenly killed in U-S airstrikes.
The head of coalition forces in Afghanistan, Lieutenant General Dan McNeill says witnesses and officials in Uruzgan province say 48 civilians were killed and 117 wounded in the incident.
But he said Saturday a joint U-S Afghan investigating team had not been able to see the bodies or confirm the deaths. He said the investigation will seek to determine what caused the casualties and how such incidents may be prevented.
General McNeill says American fighter planes attacked a suspected Taleban and al-Qaida location in the area after coming under anti-aircraft fire. But Uruzgan residents said local villagers were observing a local custom of firing rifles into the air to celebrate a wedding.
General McNeill says coalition forces take care that their attacks do not target civilian areas. Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah told the joint news conference that such tragedies against civilians must be avoided. Dr. Abdullah also stresses that the accident will not affect his government's cooperation in the military campaign against al-Qaida and Taleban holdouts.