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Reported NATO Airstrike Kills Scores in Northern Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghahistan (rushPRnews) 09/04/09 — Afghan officials say a NATO airstrike Friday morning hit a fuel truck in northern Afghanistan, killing around 90 people, including civilians.

Kunduz provincial officials say a majority of the dead were Taliban militants.

NATO officials confirmed they ordered the airstrike to target militants who had hijacked two fuel trucks. They say they are investigating whether the airstrike killed any civilians.

Local officials in Kunduz province say Taliban militants had hijacked the trucks and brought them to a village in the Aliabad district, near Afghanistan's northern border with Tajikistan.  The officials say militants invited villagers to collect fuel from the trucks when a bomb struck.

The incident highlights the growing insecurity in northern Afghanistan.

Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he does not believe the war in Afghanistan is "slipping through" President Barack Obama's fingers.  He said the president's strategy is "only now beginning" and should be given more time to work.

Gates said any request for further American troops in Afghanistan would come only after officials study the recent assessment of the conditions there.

He said that earlier this year, the president approved sending an extra 21,000 troops to Afghanistan, and that many of those, as well as civilian workers, still have not arrived in the country.

Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is not as important as how they are used to protect the Afghan people.

Earlier this week, U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal delivered his much-anticipated review of the battle against the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan.

In his report, McChrystal urged an expansion of Afghan security forces and a revamped counter-insurgency strategy.

This year has been the deadliest since the U.S.-led invasion into Afghanistan in 2001.  And recent U.S. public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans are dissatisfied with continued U.S. involvement there.

 

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

 


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