The Afghan government Monday disputed NATO findings that a top insurgent was killed in an airstrike this month, maintaining that the victims were civilians working for a candidate in next weekend's parliament elections. NATO said in a statement Sunday that the Sept. 2 attack killed Mohammad Amin, a member of the al-Qaida-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the insurgents' deputy "shadow governor" of northern Takhar province.
NATO said it could not rule out the possibility that civilians were killed or wounded. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is allied with the Taliban and its fighters are believed involved in attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Afghan authorities said 10 civilians were killed and seven were wounded in the airstrike, including the candidate Abdul Wahid Khorasani."We are very confident that the targeted individual was in the vehicle struck by the air weapons team and was killed. The question remains why an election official or candidate was travelling with a known terrorist," said Italian Brig. Gen. Luigi Scollo, head of the NATO investigating team.