NATO troops kill two Afghan civilians



Kandahar: NATO soldiers killed two Afghan civilians on Wednesday after opening fire on a car which the force said had tried to attack a patrol in the southern city of Kandahar, officials said.

NATO's International Security Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the troops fired after the vehicle "made a deliberate effort to target an ISAF dismounted patrol" but local police said it was a traffic accident.

"Sadly two civilians have been killed and two others including a 16-year-old national have been injured," ISAF spokesman Major Tim James told AFP in the capital Kabul.

Kandahar deputy provincial police chief Fazel Ahmad Sherzad however said an ISAF soldier opened fire after a civilian car hit one of their vehicles in a traffic accident.

"A vehicle lost control after one of its tyres was dislodged and hit an ISAF car. ISAF troops fired at it out of confusion and killed two civilian pedestrians," Sherzad told AFP, dismissing NATO allegations that the driver intended to attack the military convoy.

He said four occupants of the car and three ISAF soldiers were injured in the accident.

Civilian casualties in military operations are highly sensitive in Afghanistan as coalition troops battle to curb a Taliban-led insurgency ahead of a planned handover of security to Afghan forces.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai last month rejected an apology by the commander of the foreign forces, US General David Petraeus, over the deaths of nine children in an air strike in a remote village.

PTI