5 Sep 2009

NATO promises inquiry into deadly Afghanistan air strike

6:29 pm on 5 September 2009

NATO has promised a full investigation into an air strike on two fuel tankers that killed up to 90 people in Afghanistan, and says it regrets any unnecessary loss of life.

The alliance says Taliban insurgents who had hijacked the tankers were killed, but admits a large number of civilians also died in the attack.

President Hamid Karzai says targeting civilians is unacceptable, and has announced his own investigation into the attack, which took place in Kunduz province in the north of the country.

A US defence official says the strike was carried out on Friday by an American F-15 jet. Germany's Defence Ministry says permission to fire had been granted by a German commander on the ground.

The strike took place near the border with Tajikistan, an area where Taliban attacks have been growing more frequent.

The Taliban consider fuel shipments a strategic target because NATO forces depend on them.