KABUL, March 2 (Xinhua) -- Two Afghan children had been accidentally killed in the country's southern province of Uruzgan, the NATO-led coalition forces said on Saturday.
"It is with deep regret that the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) announces that its forces were responsible for the unintended death of two young Afghan civilians during an operation (on) February 28 in Shahid-e Hasas District, Uruzgan Province," the ISAF said in a statement.
"I offer my personal apology and condolences to the family of the boys who were killed," said Gen. Joseph Dunford, commander of ISAF, in the statement.
The boys were killed when coalition forces fired at what they thought were insurgent forces. A joint Afghan-ISAF investigation team visited the location on Saturday and met with local leaders, the statement added.
"I am committed to ensuring we do the right thing for the families of those we harmed, as well as for the community in which they lived. We take full responsibility for this tragedy," Dunford said.
A total of 2,754 civilians were killed in conflict-related violence in 2012, a 12 percent drop in overall civilian casualties as compared with 2011, said a UN report released last month.
The UN report attributed 81 percent of the civilian deaths to the attacks by Taliban insurgents and other armed groups, another eight percent of the deaths were attributed to Afghan and NATO-led forces and 11 percent were unattributed.
"(The) ISAF remains committed to taking appropriate actions to minimize the likelihood of similar occurrences in the future," the statement added.