Special Representative Kai Eide on reports of civilian casualties in western Afghanistan
23 August 2008 - "I learnt late last night of conflicting reports that large numbers of civilians may have been killed during military operations in the Shindand district of Herat province.
"It is vital that this incident is investigated thoroughly and quickly to establish the facts of what has happened before we jump to any conclusions.
"The United Nations has always made clear that civilian casualties are unacceptable - they undermine the trust and confidence of the Afghan people.
"I have instructed our office in Herat to offer every assistance to the provincial authorities as we work to establish and verify the facts.
"Any civilian casualty killed, is one civilian casualty too many. And every effort that can be made - must be made - to ensure the safety and welfare of the civilian population where military operations are conducted."