NATO to probe Afghan civilian death claims

Last Updated: Friday, July 15, 2011 - 13:53

Khost: NATO said on Friday that
it would investigate Afghan claims that six civilians were
killed during a military operation targeting the
al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network.

Provincial government officials said that the six, one
of them an 11-year-old girl, died during an operation
yesterday in the eastern province of Khost.

NATO had said that only one civilian was wounded, but
after President Hamid Karzai ordered Afghan officials to
conduct an investigation, the force said overnight it would
look again at the operation.

"Coalition forces take every allegation of civilian
casualties seriously and will conduct a complete assessment of
the engagement," NATO`s International Security Assistance
Force (ISAF) said.

Civilian casualties are an inflammatory issue between
US-led foreign forces and Karzai, who last month issued a
"last warning" to the military to avoid "arbitrary and
unnecessary" operations that kill civilians.

Afghans demonstrated against the deaths after bodies
were carried through Khost city, where the provincial council
announced it was going on strike.

Khost provincial spokesman Mubarez Zadar said a teacher,
a student, an 11-year-old girl and three other civilians died.

"The coalition forces were given the wrong information
and based on wrong information, they carried out an
operation," he said.

Yesterday, the United Nations had said that the number
of civilians killed in the Afghan war in the first half of
2011 was up 15 percent, putting the year on track to be the
deadliest in a decade.

The UN mission in Afghanistan said insurgents accounted
for 80 percent of civilian deaths in the past six months and
NATO troops 14 percent of killings.


First Published: Friday, July 15, 2011 - 13:53

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