KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Thursday condemned the killing of six children and an adult in the southern part of the country that local officials blame on a NATO airstrike.
Karzai's office said in a statement that local officials said NATO was responsible for the incident in the Zharzai district of Kandahar province.
NATO said that Gen. John Allen — the top U.S. and allied commander in Afghanistan — ordered an investigation into the incident, which occurred Wednesday.
The statement said Allen was saddened by the incident, which it said "concerns several civilians being killed and injured. This unfortunate incident occurred when coalition forces identified, and responded to, offensive actions by insurgents."
"Protecting the Afghan civilian population is central to our mission here in Afghanistan, and we will investigate this situation fully to determine exactly what took place and whether any further actions need to be taken," Allen said. "As was President Karzai, I too was saddened by this event."
It came as other violence flared around the country, as insurgents seeking to overthrow Karzai's government kept up their campaign of violence around Afghanistan.
An Afghan provincial official said seven Afghan guards working for a private security company were killed in the west of the country when Taliban militants attacked a convoy carrying goods for NATO.
A spokesman for the governor of western Farah province, Nakibullah Farai, said the Thursday attack lasted two hours and ended after Afghan police intervened. He said there were no foreign troops involved.
Farai said 10 vehicles were also destroyed in the attack. He says he does not know if there were Taliban casualties.