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Australian FM condemns U.S. air strike on Afghanistan boys

03-04-2011 09:43 BJT

CANBERRA, March 4 (Xinhua) -- Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd on Friday said it is unacceptable that nine young Afghan boys were gunned down by U.S. helicopters while collecting firewood.

Earlier, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) commander General David Petraeus apologized for the incident and ordered an investigation into the deadly strike by U.S. helicopters.

Rudd said that all deaths in Afghanistan are tragic.

"Nine young boys’ dying is not acceptable," he told ABC Lateline from the Afghanistan capital Kabul on Friday.

"As for the detail of what actually transpired, it's important to await the investigation. The account from the little boy is of course horrific, but let's establish all the facts."

Rudd said he will be raising the incident with General Petraeus while he is in Kabul.

Local officials said the strike happened on Tuesday killed nine boys under the age of 12 who were gathering firewood in Afghanistan's north-eastern region.

One survivor of the attack, an 11-year-old boy, is reported as saying the helicopters hovered over the boys, rose up, fired rockets and then shot the boys one after the other using their canons.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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