U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan have apologized for the deaths of seven children killed in airstrikes against a compound where al-Qaida militants were believed to be hiding.
The U.S.-led coalition said in a statement today it had intelligence that insurgents were at the complex, which included a mosque and a religious school. It said surveillance on the compound gave no indications there were children present.
The coalition statement said witnesses who survived the attack accused the militants of preventing the children from leaving the compound.
A coalition spokesman, Major Chris Belcher, said the forces are "truly sorry for the innocent lives lost." He called the incident "another example of al-Qaida using the protective status of a mosque, as well as innocent civilians, to shield themselves."
The statement said several militants were also believed to have been killed in the strike late Sunday in the eastern province of Paktika.