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Afghanistan | International

More civilians die in Afghanistan
by BBC (reposted)
Monday Mar 5th, 2007 6:28 AM
Nine Afghan civilians have been killed in a bombing raid in Kapisa province, Afghan officials say.
US forces have confirmed carrying out an air strike in the area but say they have no accurate casualty information.

The news comes shortly after US forces were accused of killing 10 civilians during a shoot out on Sunday in Nangarhar province.

Journalists say US troops confiscated their photos and video footage of the aftermath of the violence.

The BBC's Alastair Leithead in Kabul says the international mission to Afghanistan is to help the government and the people. But heavy fighting and suicide attacks have led to the death of thousands of innocent people over the past year.

President Karzai has been critical of the international forces in the past, saying they should do more to prevent civilian casualties.

Nato denial

News of the air strike in Kapisa came first from the province's deputy governor, Sayed Daud Hashimi.

He said the nine dead civilians included five women and three children and that the raid was carried out by Nato forces. Nato have denied any involvement.

But US forces say they dropped two 2,000 lb bombs during an air strike in Kapisa after a US base had come under attack. A US spokesman said they had no information yet on any deaths.

The news came shortly after President Hamid Karzai had condemned an incident on Sunday in which US forces were accused of firing indiscriminately at civilians in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

'Co-ordinated attack'

The Americans say the Nangarhar fighting, near the city of Jalalabad, started when a convoy of marines was attacked by a suicide bomber and came under co-ordinated small-arms fire.

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6418459.stm
by Al Jazeera (reposted)
Monday Mar 5th, 2007 6:29 AM
Nine civilians, including two children, have been killed after a Nato air attack hit a house in northern Afghanistan according to a local official.

Sayed Daud Hashimi, a deputy provincial governor in the Kapisa province, said five women were among the dead overnight on Monday after artillery fire hit their home in the area north of Kabul.

Hashimi said a Nato provincial reconstruction team base came under attack in the province "and they responded with artillery and an air strike, killing nine Afghan civilians".

The interior ministry confirmed there was an incident in the Nijrab district involving "some casualties" but said it was trying to find out more details.

William Mitchell, a spokesman for the US military, said officials were looking into the incident. The Nato base in Kapisa is staffed by US forces.

Further fatalities

The reported attack comes just a day after US forces killed up to 16 civilians in the eastern province of Nangarhar, after they opened fire following a car bomb attack on their convoy.

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, condemned the killings earlier on Monday and ordered an investigation into Sunday's attack.

His office and the Afghan interior ministry on Monday put the death toll at 10 civilians while the coalition late on Sunday said eight Afghans were killed and 35 wounded.

Hours after the attack several hundred demonstrators gathered at the site, about 50km from the city of Jalalabad, to protest. They blocked the road in the Marko area for several hours.

Reports said demonstrators chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Karzai."

The interior ministry on Sunday night said that the civilians were killed by gunfire from the foreign troops, but on Monday a spokesman said it was unclear exactly how they died.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/51E4FD26-8256-4052-B4D9-E72849B0917F.htm
by UK Guardian (reposted)
Monday Mar 5th, 2007 6:30 AM
Two incidents involving American forces have left around 19 Afghan civilians dead since yesterday, prompting furious protests against the US and Nato.

In the first incident, up to 10 civilians were killed yesterday as a convoy of US marines fled after being attacked by a suicide bomber in a minivan in eastern Nangarhar province.

Nine Afghan witnesses said US marines had fired indiscriminately on civilian cars and pedestrians as they sped away, the Associated Press reported.

The US military said it was unclear what had happened and militant gunmen may have been to blame for the deaths.

Then today Afghan officials said nine civilians had been killed after a Nato air strike hit a house during a firefight between US forces and militants, killing nine Afghans who lived there.

The air strike came after militants had fired on a Nato base in Kapisa province, just north of Kabul.

Later a house was hit, killing five women, three boys and a man, said Sayad Mohammad Dawood Hashimmi, Kapisa's deputy governor.

A high-level Afghan delegation will today begin an investigation of the deaths in Nangarhar, where more than 30 people were also left wounded. One US marine was injured in the initial suicide attack.

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/afghanistan/story/0,,2026940,00.html
by UK Independent (reposted)
Monday Mar 5th, 2007 6:30 AM
Thousands of angry demonstrators took to the streets in Afghanistan yesterday after US forces were involved in a panicked shooting which left 16 civilians dead and 23 injured.

Local people as well as a number of Afghan officials accused the American marines of opening fire indiscriminately following a suicide bomb attack on their convoy in Nangarhar province.

With protests continuing to grow, and the police coming under attack from stone- throwing crowds, the US military maintained that the casualties were the victims of a "complex ambush" in which gunmen had carried out a synchronised attack following the blast in which a marine was injured.

But Mohammad Khan Katawazi, the district chief of Shinwar district, where the deaths took place, insisted that they "treated every car and person along the highway as a potential attacker" as they attempted to speed away from the scene of the explosion.

Abdul Ghafour and Noor Agha Zwak, speaking on behalf of the Nangarhar police and government, and Zemeri Bashary, the Interior Ministry spokesman in Kabul, also claimed the deaths and injuries were due to American fire.

Four months ago, British Royal Marines were also accused of shooting bystanders after their convoy had been hit by a roadside bomb in Kandahar. On that occasion the British authorities maintained that most of those shot had been trying to prevent the convoy from leaving the scene.

The killings in Nangarhar came just a few days after a suicide bombing at Bagram airbase, near Kabul, during a visit by US Vice-President Dick Cheney, killing nine people.

Both the Taliban and Nato forces in Afghanistan had said that a comparative lull in fighting during the winter would be followed by renewed campaigning in the spring.

Yesterday, as crowds blocked roads shouting "death to America" and "death to Karzai", some of those who were injured related their version of what had happened.

"They were firing everywhere, and they even opened fire on 14 to 15 vehicles passing on the highway," said 38-year-old Tur Gul, who was shot twice in his right hand. "They opened fire on everybody, the ones inside the vehicles and the ones on foot." Some said that they were fired upon although they took care to get out of the way of the departing convoy.

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http://news.independent.co.uk/world/asia/article2328819.ece