KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani apologised Wednesday to the families of civilians, mainly children, killed when the country´s air force sprayed an outdoor religious gathering with rockets and machine gun fire last month.
The April 2 airstrike on a ceremony attended by hundreds of men and boys in Dasht-e-Archi district – a Taliban stronghold in the northern province of Kunduz – left at least 36 people dead including 30 children, a United Nations investigation has shown.
Seventy-one people were wounded, including 51 children, it said, adding that it had “credible information” the tolls could be even higher.
Originally the government and military had said the Afghan Air Force targeted a Taliban base where senior members of the group were planning attacks.
The defence ministry initially denied any civilians had been hurt, then claimed the Taliban had shot them.
On Wednesday Ghani met families as well as local elders and apologised, a statement from the presidential palace said.