Military accounts almost always are at variance with others. Usually there are no independent observers such as reporters to verify what happened one way or the other. But if family members were lost it will do nothing to help the ISAF cause. It seems quite clear that if the choice is between collateral damage and danger to troops that collateral damage is always regarded as the lesser of evils.
NATO airstrike kills 5 Afghan civilians: tribal leader
A NATO airstrike killed five civilians in Helmand province of southern Afghanistan on Monday, a local tribal leader said, while NATO troops disputed the accusation, saying two insurgents were killed.
Air force of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) bombarded the house of Hajji Yar Mohammad in Gereshk district at around 3:00 a.m. local time, killing five civilians including women and children and wounding four others, a tribal leader Mira Jan Adil told Xinhua.
A member of the attacked family Hajji Mohammad Agha also confirmed the bombardment, but declined to give more details.
Meantime, an ISAF spokesman disputed the allegation, saying ISAF targeted the house when they came under fire from it.
"Militants opened fire from the house, injuring one ISAF and two Afghan soldiers," said David Marsh, who is based in the neighboring Kandahar province. "The soldiers then called in air support."
He said two militants were killed in the airstrike.
Foreign troops have killed civilians in operations or on the road in this country from time to time, critically undermining their popularity here.
About 4,500 ISAF and 1,000 Afghan soldiers are carrying out a major offensive dubbed "Operation Achilles" against Taliban militants in northern Helmand.
More than 400 people have been killed in insurgency in this country this year.