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Afghans killed when coalition bomb misses target

BAGRAM, Afghanistan (Army News Service, April 9, 2003) -- Eleven Afghan civilians were killed and one was wounded this morning when a bomb, dropped by coalition aircraft, landed on a house on the outskirts of Shkin, near the Pakistani border

Coalition forces never intentionally target civilian locations, officials said.

The incident occurred when enemy forces attacked an Afghan Militia Force checkpoint near the Shkin firebase in Paktika province just before midnight last night. Four members of the Afghan Militia Force were wounded in the attack. A quick reaction force from Shkin responded and pursued the attackers toward the border. Close air support was requested and U.S. Marine Corps AV-8 Harriers responded.

Two groups of five to 10 enemy personnel were spotted and the Harriers engaged one group with cannon fire.

Another group of enemy forces was identified and close air support attempted to engage them with a GBU-16, a 1,000-pound, laser-guided bomb. That bomb missed the intended target and landed on the house. The circumstances of the bombing are being investigated, officials said.

No coalition forces were injured in the attack. The four wounded AMF soldiers and the wounded civilian were medically evacuated to Salerno Air Field, where they were reportedly in stable condition. There is no assessment on enemy forces at this time, officials said.

In another area of Afghanistan, elements of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Coalition Task Force 82, and Special Operations forces, launched "Operation Resolute Strike" in the vicinity of Sangin district, in Hilmand province, the morning of April 8.

The combined air assault and ground attack involved more than 500 soldiers and attack and assault helicopters. Forty-one people were initially detained and 34 have been released, officials reported. Coalition forces recovered weapons, ammunition and explosives. The operation is ongoing, officials said.

(Editor's note: Information taken from a release submitted by the Bagram Press Center.)

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