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Children between seven and nine years old was killed in a NATO air strike in Afghanistan when they were mistaken for being rebel soldiers.

According to the police chief of Kunar province, a NATO base was targeted with rockets fired on Tuesday by rebels who lived in the mountains nearby. Throughout the day, NATO located where the missiles came from, and responded with air strikes.

Unfortunately the missiles hit children who had climbed up into the mountains to gather firewood, according to the police chief for the province, Khalilullah Ziayee. He said that nine children aged between seven and nine have been killed in the attack.

NATO admitted the attack Wednesday afternoon.

– We are very sorry for this tragedy and apologize to the Afghan government, the Afghan people and, most importantly, family members of those who lost their lives because of our actions, “said NATO Gen. David Petraeus.

– These deaths should never have taken place, and I will personally apologize for this to President Karzai when he comes home from his London trip this week, he added.

It is not the first time that NATO is accused of killing civilians in air strikes. Earlier this week an official Afghan government delegation accused NATO for having killed 65 civilians in operations recently.

Kunar province is a mountainous region on the Pakistani border where turbulence often occurs in conjunction with the Taliban and other militant groups.

2,421 Afghan civilians were killed in 2010, according to the independent organization Human Rights Monitor Afghanistan presented earlier this year.

512 civilians were killed by Allied forces. 63 percent of deaths caused by roadside bombs, assassinations and suicide bombs that the insurgents are behind.

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