Afghan probe says five civilians killed in NATO raid

The deaths came during a raid in Sari Pul province in Afghan on Monday.

Updated: Apr 09, 2011, 23:41 PM IST

Kabul: A probe by Afghan officials has
concluded that five people killed by NATO-led troops in a raid
in northern Afghanistan this week were civilians, President
Hamid Karzai`s office said.

The deaths came during a raid in Sari Pul province in
northern Afghanistan on Monday.

The local provincial governor said at the time that
those killed were civilians, but the NATO-led International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said they were insurgents.
Karzai then ordered an investigation by provincial

A spokesman for the International Security Assistance
Force said it could not immediately comment on the findings.

"The findings of this delegation, which is based on
meetings with villagers and statements by eyewitness says that
five civilians were killed," a statement from Karzai`s office

"The president of Afghanistan... strongly condemns the
killing of civilians in this operation and emphasises once
again that killing civilians will not help the fight against
terrorism but will hinder it."

The issue of civilian casualties in international
military operations is highly sensitive in Afghanistan,
exacerbating tensions between the Afghan government and its
Western supporters.

There are around 130,000 foreign troops, two-thirds of
them American, deployed in Afghanistan to help Kabul fight the
Taliban and other insurgents.