The commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan has apologised for civilian deaths in a coalition airstrike south of capital Kabul earlier this week. This is the first confirmation by NATO forces that civilians were killed in the operation.John Allen, Commander, NATO and US troops in Afghanistan, said, "On those occasions when our forces accidentally kill or harm Afghan people we are very sad. I have come here today to offer you my respects, to offer you my condolences and regrets, but importantly to apologies to each of you for this tragedy."Marine General John Allen flew to Logar province to personally deliver his regrets to villagers and provincial officials. Afghan officials say the airstrike killed 18 civilians. Coalition troops were on an operation to capture a Taliban leader hiding out in a village. As they tried to breach the compound, they came under fire and fought back, eventually calling in the airstrike.