New York

07 December 2003

Statement Attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Afghanistan

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

The Secretary-General was profoundly saddened by reports that nine children were killed in Ghazni, Afghanistan, apparently as a result of an air strike carried out by coalition forces targetting a Taleban leader. The

Secretary-General offers his sincerest condolences to the families of the

children who were killed.

The Secretary-General has noted that the coalition will conduct an

investigation into this tragic incident and urges that the investigation be

comprehensive and that its results be made public. Given that this is not

the first time innocents have been killed as a result of coalition

airstrikes in Afghanistan, the Secretary-General urges that the findings of

the investigation include measures to ensure that such tragic mistakes are

not repeated.

The Secretary-General stresses that the protection of civilians in armed conflict is an obligation of all parties. The fight against terrorism cannot be won at the expense of innocent lives.

New York

7 December 2003