Ten election campaign workers have been killed, on Thursday 09/02/2010 at about 09:00, in an air strike by NATO-ISAF forces in Afghanistan, officials said. The governor of the northern province of Takhar, Abduljabar Taqwa, said that two people were also wounded in the attack in the Rostaq district (see also – nangarhar 04.29.10 ). 

President Hamid Karzai condemned the incident, saying that “pro-democracy people should be distinguished from those who fight against democracy”. 

A NATO spokesman said a “precision air strike” had hit a militant’s vehicle.The target was a senior member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (-IMU) who regularly co-ordinated and conducted attacks with Taliban insurgents, NATO-ISAF said.

“Intelligence tracked the insurgents travelling in a sedan on a series of remote roads in Rostaq district. After careful planning to ensure no civilians were present, coalition aircraft conducted a precision air strike on one sedan and later followed with direct fire from an aerial platform. “The vehicle was travelling as part of a six-car convoy, but no other vehicles were hit in the strike,” the statement added. 

NATO-ISAF statement said “initial reflections” indicated that up to 12 insurgents had been killed or wounded, including a Taliban commander.”Multiple passengers of the vehicle were positively identified carrying weapons,” it added. 

The governor said Abdulawahid Khorasani, a parliamentary candidate on his way to campaign in Rostaq with supporters and several armed guards, was among those hurt. 

The district governor of Rostaq, Malim Hussian, told the BBC: “Around 0900 this morning, a convoy of around 100 cars belonging to Mr Khorasani left Khwaja Bahawideen for a village called Kay Wan.”[A fighter] jet first dropped a bomb. After that there were two helicopters, which fired heavy machine-guns. As a result 10 people were killed, including a local commander called Aminullah,” a former member of the Mujahideen who was not a member of the Taliban, he said.

Abdulawahid Khorasani, whose was injured in the strike, told the BBC that the victims were his family members and supporters involved in his campaign. 

US Marine Corps Maj Gen David Garza said: “We’re aware of the allegations that this strike caused civilian casualties and we’ll do our best to get to the bottom of the accusations.” He added: “We’re confident this strike hit only the targeted vehicle after days of tracking the occupants’ activity.”
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