A US-led raid on a suspected militant cell in Bati Kot district, Nangarhar province, killed as many as six Afghans April 30, including a woman and a teenage girl, sparking protests by hundreds of angry Afghans chanting “Death to Bush!” The protest was held on the same highway where a US Marine convoy fired indiscriminately on vehicles and pedestrians in the wake of a suicide bombing, killing 12 people March 4. “Their operation was based on incorrect reports, and they carried out a cruel attack on these houses,” said local resident Akhtar Mohammad at the protest. “We are not the enemy; we are not al-Qaida. Why are they attacking us?”
“It is extremely unfortunate that militants put others’ lives in danger by hiding among their families,” said U.S. Army Maj. Chris Belcher, a coalition spokesman. The US said that after being fired upon, coalition forces returned fire, killing four militants, an adult woman and a teenage girl. Another child and teenage girl were wounded. Coalition forces reportedly found several guns and bomb-making materials, and detained one man from the compound for questioning. (AP, April 30)
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