Afghanistan: children killed by NATO fire

NATO-led forces killed three Afghan children and injured seven in artillery fire Sept. 1 after a patrol came under fire from presumed Taliban insurgents in Gayan district, Paktika province. The rounds fell close to a house where the children were later found dead, according to a statement from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). “ISAF deeply regrets this accident and an investigation as to the exact circumstances of this tragic event is now under way,” the statement said. Afghanistan’s government counts more than 500 civilians killed during operations by foreign and Afghan forces this year.

The incident came after the US-led coalition command said its troops killed more than 220 fighters in a week of fighting in Paktika province. But Dad Mohammad Khan, a former provincial intelligence chief and politician, told AlJazeera: “There is basically no Taliban [killed]. The Taliban fire and then escape and then these people [foreign troops] come and bombard. Three hundred people have been killed and wounded.”

Meanwhile in Kabul, hundreds of protesters blocked a road, accusing foreign troops of killing a family of four, including two children, in an overnight raid. Residents of Hud Kheil in the east of Kabul said the children—one just eight months old—were killed by grenades during a joint US-Afghan operation. However, the US military denied that its forces were involved. (AlJazeera, Sept. 1)

See our last post on civilian casualties in Afghanistan.