UN Says 90 Civilians Killed in Coalition Strike

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The United Nations said Tuesday that it had found convincing evidence that 90 Afghan civilians, most of them children, were killed in air strikes by U.S.-led coalition forces in western Afghanistan last week.

The issue of civilian casualties has driven a rift between the Afghan government and its NATO backers, with President Hamid Karzai saying earlier this month that air strikes had achieved nothing and had only succeeded in killing ordinary Afghans.

"Investigations by [United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan] found convincing evidence, based on the testimony of eyewitnesses, and others, that some 90 civilians were killed, including 60 children, 15 women and 15 men," UN Special Envoy to Afghanistan Kai Eide said in a statement.

The U.S. military has launched an investigation into the incident, after first saying it was unaware of any civilian casualties in what it said was an air strike on a known Taliban commander that killed 30 militants.

The Afghan government on Monday ordered the review of operations by foreign forces amid mounting discontent over civilian casualties nearly seven years after U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban, the presidential spokesman said.

The order foresees a set of laws to be drafted in consultation with foreign forces and then approved by the Afghan parliament, Humayun Hamidzada told a regular press briefing.