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NATO airstrike kills 40 in Afghanistan, officials say

The strike hit two hijacked tankers that were delivering fuel to NATO forces near the Tajikistan border, a police official says. NATO confirms an airstrike but gives no details.

September 04, 2009|Times Wire Reports

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — Officials in northern Afghanistan said today that a NATO airstrike on hijacked fuel trucks had killed at least 40 people.

Police Chief Gulam Mohyuddin said the airstrike hit two tankers in Kunduz province near the Tajikistan border. The blast occurred around midnight after the Taliban had hijacked two trucks that were delivering fuel to North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces.

A spokesman for NATO forces said that the alliance had carried out an airstrike targeting insurgents in northern Afghanistan during the night. He had no immediate information about the report of the blast and casualties.

"I can confirm that there was an airstrike last night or early this morning," said Capt. Jon Stock, press officer for NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

Mohammad Sarwar, a tribal elder in the province, said Taliban fighters had hijacked the tankers and were offering fuel to a crowd of people when the attack occurred. "We blame both the Taliban and the government for this," he said.

Mohyuddin said 40 people were killed. Kunduz Gov. Mohammad Omar said at least 45 were killed, including the district's top Taliban commander.

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