Two Afghan civilians dead after NATO-Taliban firefight

Two Afghan civilians were killed and a third was wounded today during a firefight between NATO soldiers and insurgents in Afghanistan, officials said.

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2010, 00:19 AM IST

Ghazni: Two Afghan civilians were killed and a third was wounded today during a firefight between NATO soldiers and insurgents in Afghanistan, officials said.

A NATO patrol was hit by a roadside bomb in Maydan Shahr, capital of Wardak province, south of Kabul, and when it stopped to investigate came under small-arms fire by insurgents, the alliance said in a statement.

"Two Afghan civilians were possibly killed when insurgents attacked a coalition patrol in Maydan Shahr," it said.

The provincial governor said two students were killed and a third student was wounded. "Two civilians were killed and one was wounded," said a statement from the governor`s office.

The deaths sparked protests by villagers, who blocked the main Kabul-Kandahar highway for an hour, said Wardak governor Mohammad Haleem Fedayee.

He said he had appointed a delegation to investigate the incident.

NATO said it was also investigating the incident together with Afghan security forces.

Thousands of Afghan civilians have died in insurgent attacks and operations by Afghan and Western troops since the war began in 2001.

The United Nations has said that most civilians are killed by the Taliban, though Afghans largely blame the violence on the presence of foreign troops.

The United States and NATO have more than 150,000 troops in the country fighting the insurgency, which is in its 10th year with the number of foreign soldiers killed nearing 600 for this year alone.

Bureau Report