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Afghan civilians killed during coalition attack

Latest update : 2008-08-08

Four women and a child were killed when US-led troops engaged suspected Taliban militants in a gun battle in central Afghanistan.

US-led coalition troops "inadvertently" killed four women and a child in a gun battle in central Afghanistan that also left several militants dead, officials said Friday.
Troops were "threatened" by militants during an operation Thursday in Ghazni province aimed at a Taliban militant alleged to be coordinating foreign rebels in Afghanistan, according to a coalition statement.
"As coalition forces approached a compound, they were threatened by several armed militants.
"The force responded with small-arms fire, killing the militants and inadvertently killing four women and a child located with them," it said.
Several alleged militants were killed and three detained, the coalition said.
"The coalition regrets the death of these non-combatants," spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Rumi Nielson-Green said in the statement. "We are planning to conduct a full and thorough investigation."
There has been a series of incidents in the past weeks in which civilians have been killed in international military action against Taliban and other insurgents trying to bring down the Western-backed government.
On July 27, Canadian soldiers in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) killed two children after opening fire on a car that did not slow down near a military patrol in the southern province of Kandahar.
The day before, ISAF troops killed four civilians in similar circumstances in neighbouring Helmand.
Also last month, the coalition admitted killing eight civilians in an air strike against militants in the southwestern province of Farah.
It and ISAF are meanwhile investigating official Afghan reports that 64 civilians were killed in two strikes in northeastern Afghanistan early in the same month.
The mounting civilian casualties in international military operations seven years after the world sent troops to Afghanistan to topple the Taliban government angers Afghans and threatens to turn them against the soldiers.
The United Nations said in June that nearly 700 civilians had lost their lives in Afghanistan this year, about two-thirds in militant attacks and about 255 in military operations.


Date created : 2008-08-08