Nato apologises for Afghan civilian deaths in Logar

Gen John Allen: "I have come here today to offer you my condolences"

The commander of international forces in Afghanistan Gen John Allen has apologised for civilian deaths in an air strike on Wednesday.

It is the first time that Nato has admitted civilians died in the air strike in the southern Logar province, which had targeted Taliban commanders.

Afghan officials said 18 civilians had died in the incident.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has condemned the air strike, calling it "unjustifiable".

Gen John Allen flew to Logar on Friday to offer condolences to villagers and local leaders.

Gen Allen addressed a group of about two dozen Afghans gathered at a base at the provincial capital of Pul-i-Alam, the Associated Press reports.

"I know that no apology can bring back the lives of the children or the people who perished in this tragedy and this accident, but I want you to know that you have my apology and we will do the right thing by the families," he said, according to AP.

Tribal elders and officials in Logar province earlier told the BBC that Taliban commanders had gathered at the house in a remote village in the district of Baraki Barak.

Isaf, Nato's operation in Afghanistan, said that Afghan and Nato troops came under fire after surrounding the house and warning the Taliban to surrender.

Nato forces then called in the air strike.

Reports say guests had gathered at the house ahead of a wedding. At least eight Taliban commanders were also killed nearby.

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