McChrystal on Sept. 3 Airstrike

US Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, on Sept. 5 visited the site of the airstrike that Afghan officials claim killed numerous civilians in addition to insurgents. In a radio broadcast, he said, “I take this possible loss of life or injury to innocent Afghans very seriously.” Shortly after assuming command in June, McChrystal issued a tactical directive intended to restore emphasis on avoiding civilian casualties. The German commander who authorized the Sept. 3 strike by a USAF F-15E initially denied civilians had been in the area where Taliban insurgents had hijacked two fuel trucks; however, according to a Sept. 7 Associated Press report, German officials now say it is likely some civilians died. In his radio address, McChrystal promised a “complete investigation” that he would “share with the Afghan people.” (Includes AFPS report by Jim Garamone)