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News, July 2011
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.
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.
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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.
CIVILIAN DEATH INVESTIGATION
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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