KABUL, Afghanistan – The U.S.-led international coalition in Afghanistan said Friday that it is investigating an airstrike it launched that killed a child and injured two women, leading to a condemnation of the attack by the country's president.
The coalition known as the International Security Assistance Forces said Thursday's airstrike also killed an insurgent in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province.
"The International Security Assistance Force confirms that an airstrike was conducted on a known insurgent riding a motorbike in Helmand," ISAF said.
It added that it was also aware that Afghan authorities said "that in addition to the insurgent being killed, there was one child also killed and two women injured. ISAF, along with Afghan authorities, will immediately conduct an investigation into the incident."
The coalition said it regretted any civilian casualties as a result of its airstrike and that it was "committed to ensuring that all measures are taken to prevent civilian casualties. Coalition officials will work with Afghan officials to determine what happened and why. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those killed or wounded."
President Hamid Karzai has in the past criticized the coalition for often causing civilian casualties as a result of some airstrikes. Such incidents have fallen off sharply in recent years following stricter guidelines by NATO on the use of air power against ground targets.
Karzai has demanded an end to all such incidents along with a stop to all raids on Afghan homes by foreign forces as a condition for him to sign a long-delayed security deal with the United States.
He has already deferred signing a deal until his second and last term expires in April, but has not completely excluded the possibility of doing so.
The Taliban and other insurgent groups are blamed for the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties, most of which are caused by roadside bombs targeting Afghan or foreign forces.