The strike hit three minibuses that were driving down a major road in the mountainous province. There were 42 people in the vehicles, all civilians, Bashary said.
"We are extremely saddened by the tragic loss of innocent lives," NATO commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal said.
McChrystal also sent along his regrets six days ago when 12 civilians including 6 children were killed by two NATO-fired rockets which missed their intended target by 300 meters, and still more regrets the following day for five more civilians killed in another NATO airstrike.
McClatchy's reports that Operation Mushtarak (translation : Operation Together) is all just "a trial run" for "the next big combat mission" in Kandahar this summer, described by ISAF officials as "the big prize for both the Taliban and the coalition":
"Coalition officers describe the Marjah operation, now into its second week, as a "confidence builder" for Kandahar now that extra troops for Afghanistan have been committed."
And what is the point of this "confidence builder" for "the big prize" again?
Journalist and historian Gareth Porter at The Real News Network :
"In my view this offensive has to be viewed as more of an effort to shape public opinion in the United States than to shape the politics of the future of Afghanistan."It's propaganda, explains Porter, to sell the American people on the idea that when the inevitable negotiations with the Taliban for US withdrawal are held in 16 to 18 months, it will look at home as if the US is negotiating from a position of strength.
Saving face - that's what all these civilians and soldiers are dying for now.