Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday denounced last week’s NATO airstrike that killed two children in the Charchino district of central Uruzgan province.

The deaths occurred in Dowan area on Thursday, when the troops were conducting an aerial patrol of the village, where the children were tending their cattle.

In a statement from his office, Karzai reiterated his stance that terrorists were not hiding in Afghanistan’s rural areas. He once again asked foreign troops to target insurgent hideouts outside the country’s border.

Deeply hurt by the deaths of the minors, the president extended his heartfelt condolences to the victims’ relatives and prayed to Almighty Allah to give them the patience to bear the irreparable loss with fortitude.

Earlier in the day, the Australian military said it was investigating the incident. Gen. David Hurley, the Australian military chief, said: “We deeply regret that ISAF was responsible for the unintended death of two young Afghan boys during the operation.”