KABUL, Afghanistan - Investigators say troops accidentally caused the deaths of two civilians in eastern Afghanistan when they returned fire after an insurgent attack, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said Friday.
The attack - which took place Wednesday in the Bak district of Khost province - prompted a joint ISAF-Afghan force to respond with "indirect fire," according to the results of a preliminary military investigation. Indirect fire refers to shooting from a position without a direct line of sight to the target.
Along with the two deaths, four civilians, including a young boy, were wounded. Afghan and coalition force officials met with village elders and relatives after the incident.
Civilian deaths during the Afghan war have undermined international and Afghan government efforts to win grassroots support in the fight against the Taliban.
"We take accidents such as this very seriously and we incorporate investigative findings into our operations to improve our procedures," said Navy Capt. Jane Campbell, ISAF Joint Command spokeswoman. "We remain fully committed to the people of Afghanistan and we take every precaution to prevent civilian casualties."