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13 Afghani Civilians Killed in NATO Air Strike

July 7, 2011

US-led strike kills 13 civilians

Press TV, Thursday July 7, 2011 12:52PM

US-led attacks continue to claim civilian lives in Afghanistan. A US-led airstrike has killed at least 13 civilians, mostly women and children, in the troubled eastern Afghanistan, officials say.

"Unfortunately eight women, four children, and one man were killed in a NATO airstrike on a residential house in Dowamanda district (of Khost) early this morning," AFP quoted provincial police chief Mohamad Zazai as saying.

In the past 24 hours, foreign forces have killed at least 17 civilians across Afghanistan -- many of them women and children.

Following the US-led military attack, a large crowd of Afghans held an angry protest rally against the foreign forces.

The developments come as US-led attacks continue to claim civilian lives in Afghanistan. Earlier, a NATO air attack killed two children in Ghazni province.

In early March, a US-led air strike claimed the lives of nine children, aged between seven and nine, in Darah-Ye Pech district in Kunar province in northeast Afghanistan.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the US-led airstrikes and ground operations in various parts of Afghanistan over the past few months, with Afghans becoming increasingly outraged over the seemingly endless number of deadly assaults.

Civilian casualties have long been a source of friction between the Afghan government and US-led foreign forces. The loss of civilian lives at the hands of foreign forces has drastically raised anti-American sentiments in Afghanistan.

The surge in violence in the country comes despite the presence of nearly 150,000 foreign troops that claim to be engaged in a so-called war on terror.

The US-led war in Afghanistan, with civilian and military casualties at record highs, has become the longest war in the US history.


Up to 13 Afghan civilians killed in NATO airstrike

July 7, 2011

By Ted Aljibe | AFP

Up to 13 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in a NATO airstrike on Thursday in the eastern Afghan province of Khost, provincial police chief Mohamad Zazai said.

"Unfortunately eight women, four children, and one man were killed in a NATO airstrike on a residential house in Dowamanda district early this morning," Zazai said.

He said four militants from the Taliban-linked Haqqani network were also killed in the strike.

"The body of a Haqqani commander and three fighters have also been recovered from the vicinity of the house. A delegation has been sent to investigate the incident," he said.

A spokesman for the provincial governor confirmed that civilians had been killed in the incident but gave no further details.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force said those killed were family members of the Haqqani network, which is a target of the alliance force.

A spokesman for the coalition said Afghan-led forces had gone in search of the insurgents when they came under attack by rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire.

"Responding to the insurgent attack, the security forces returned fire and called in an air weapons team. The subsequent air strike killed several insurgents and unintentionally a number of associated family members," the spokesman said.

The deaths triggered protests that blocked the main highway to Kabul nearby.

They come a day after provincial authorities in southern Ghazni claimed two civilians were killed in another military incident. NATO said it was looking into those claims.

Explore Related Content

NATO acknowledges killing Afghan civilians, probes more claims

By Jonathon Burch, Hamid Shalizi, Michelle Nichols in Kabul and Elyas Wahdat in Khost

July 7, 2011

KABUL (Reuters) -

The NATO-led force in Afghanistan said Thursday it had accidentally killed a number of civilians in an air strike earlier this week and was also investigating allegations a separate air raid killed two civilians the previous day.

The mistaken killing of civilians by foreign troops is a major source of friction between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Western backers, and has soured the feelings of many ordinary Afghans towards foreign forces.

Eleven people, including four insurgents, were killed in the air strike Tuesday night in the Shamal district of eastern Khost province, prompting angry street protests, said police chief Sarder Zazai.

A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)said the air strike had killed "several" insurgents but that "a number of associated family members" had also been accidentally killed.

"At the time it was unknown to the security forces that those insurgents were operating among women and children," The ISAF spokesman said, adding it was unclear how many insurgents and civilians had been killed.

The deaths sparked a protest by several hundred Afghans, who burnt an unknown effigy, in Sayed Khel village in the Shamal district Thursday.

"I ask(Afghan President Hamid) Karzai to pull out these American and NATO(troops) from our country if you can. If Karzai does not listen to our request, we will call for jihad against America," said Haji Mirbaz Khan, the village leader.

The ISAF spokesman said an Afghan-led security force had been pursuing several insurgents from the Haqqani network, an insurgent group allied to the Taliban, and became engaged in a firefight before calling in the air strike.


Separately, ISAF said it was looking into allegations by Afghan residents one of its air strikes had killed two young shepherds in Ghazni, a restive province southwest of Kabul.

ISAF said it had carried out an air raid in Khogyani district in Ghazni but that only one insurgent had been killed who had been planting a bomb.

"Although operational reporting indicates that only the insurgent targeted was killed, ISAF takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously, and, in conjunction with the Afghan government, makes every effort to address them," ISAF said in a statement.

It said it had launched an investigation into the incident together with the Afghan Interior Ministry.

Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday to protest about the deaths of the two young shepherds they said were killed by foreign forces.

As violence has spread across the country, casualties have risen, and the United Nations said May was the deadliest month for civilians since they began keeping records four years earlier.

Earlier this year, two NATO helicopters gunned down nine Afghan boys as they collected firewood in a volatile province in northeastern Afghanistan.

The incident prompted a sharp rebuke from Karzai and a rare and candid apology by the commander of U.S. and NATO forces General David Petraeus. U.S. President Barack Obama also expressed "deep regret" over the killings.

However, the United Nations has also said insurgents are to blame for the vast majority of civilian deaths. In May, more than 80 percent of the 301 civilian deaths were caused by militants, it said.

In another incident, ISAF said one of its helicopters had crashed in Parwan province, north of the Afghan capital, on Thursday. All crew members had been recovered without injuries, it said.

ISAF said it was investigating the cause of the crash but initial reporting showed their was "no enemy activity in the area at the time of the incident."

(Reporting by Jonathon Burch, Hamid Shalizi, Michelle Nichols in Kabul and Elyas Wahdat in Khost)

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