NATO airstrike kills at least 27 civilians

KABUL — A NATO airstrike killed at least 27 Afghancivilians, officials said Monday, in the third coalition strike thismonth to kill noncombatants and draw a sharp rebuke from Afghanistan'sgovernment about endangering civilians.

In eastern Afghanistan, asuicide bomber killed 15 people on Monday, including a tribal leaderwho played a key role in a failed attempt to capture al-Qaida leaderOsama bin Laden at Tora Bora in 2001, police said.

The top NATOcommander, US Gen. Stanley McChrystal, apologized to President HamidKarzai for the Sunday airstrike, which occurred in the central Afghanprovince of Uruzgan.

The Afghanistan Council of Ministers strongly condemned the airstrike, calling it "unjustifiable."

Itsaid reports indicated that NATO planes fired at a convoy of threevehicles, killing at least 27 people, including four women and a child,and injuring 12 others.