Merkel 'deeply regrets' any civilian losses in German-led NATO strike

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would "deeply regret" the loss of any Afghan civilian lives in a NATO air strike on Friday that was ordered by a German commander. Kunduz province officials say six civilians were killed in the strike.


AFP - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday said she would "deeply regret" if any civilian lives were lost in a recent NATO air strike in Afghanistan, which was ordered by a German military commander.

"If there were civilian casualties, I would deeply regret that," said Merkel before meeting in Berlin with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

She called for a "quick, complete and open" inquiry by NATO into Friday's raid on northern Kunduz province.

Merkel reassured the around 4,000-strong German troops in increasingly violent northern Afghanistan, who she said were serving "in difficult conditions", that their country was "standing behind them".

The NATO-led force in Afghanistan denied Sunday that its investigators had already wrapped up their inquiry and had reached a definitive death toll.

Mohammad Omar, governor of Kunduz province, told AFP by telephone Sunday that six civilians, including a child, were among a total of 54 people killed in the air strike, which targeted two fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban.

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