Woman killed during night raid in eastern Afghan
Last Updated: Saturday, December 17, 2011, 23:46
Kabul: Coalition forces and local Afghan officials were at odds on Saturday after a night raid on a house in the east of the country left one woman dead.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the operation in the Gardez district of Paktia province targeted a Haqqani leader who was responsible for roadside bomb and gun attacks.

But the provincial governor's office said the "arbitrary" operation was launched on the house of the Paktia counter-narcotics chief, who had been detained along with his two sons, and demanded his release.

"The security force was fired upon by an individual located inside a building of the compound. The force returned fire and once the threat stopped, they called for all individuals to exit the compound," ISAF said in a statement.

"During a search of the building, two females were found inside of the room where the individual, who was later captured, was positioned as he fired at the security force." The women were evacuated for medical treatment but one later died of a gunshot wound.

"In addition to the Haqqani leader, two suspected insurgents were detained during the operation," ISAF said, adding that two AK-47 assault rifles, a bolt action rifle, ammunition and a grenade were recovered.

However, the Paktia governor's office said it condemned the raid, which left one woman dead and three others injured, "in the strongest terms".

"At around one o'clock last night ISAF forces launched an arbitrary operation on the house of the head of the Paktia counter-narcotics department in Gardez city," the statement said.

"In this operation Dr Hafizullah, the director of the counter-narcotics department, was detained along with his two sons. One female member of the family was martyred and three others were wounded."

There are around 1,40,000 international troops, mainly from the United States, in Afghanistan helping government forces combat the insurgency.

Commanders have put an increasing emphasis on "courageous restraint" during operations to avoid the possibility of inflicting civilian casualties.

According to the UN, the number of civilians killed in violence in Afghanistan rose by 15 per cent in the first six months of this year to 1,462, with insurgents blamed for 80 per cent of the killings.

President Hamid Karzai has led public criticism of night raids for causing civilian casualties but ISAF has defended the operations as a tactical success.


First Published: Saturday, December 17, 2011, 23:46

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