U.S.-led forces kill several in Afghan raid


  • World
  • Tuesday, 12 Dec 2006

By Ben Blanchard

KHOST, Afghanistan (Reuters) - U.S.-led troops killed at least four people, including a teenage girl, in an operation in Afghanistan's southeastern province of Khost on Tuesday, the force and villagers said. 

But there were conflicting accounts about who was killed in the pre-dawn raid in Dornami village in a province where the Taliban and their Islamic allies are highly active. 

Residents say the U.S.-led force, backed by Afghan militias, broke into a house, drawing fire from the occupants who thought they were thieves. Four people were killed and some seven wounded -- all of them civilians, they said. 

The U.S.-led coalition said in a statement the raid killed five people -- four suspected terrorists and a young girl. 

The troops requested the surrender of those in the compound. 

"The suspected terrorists refused to comply with verbal warnings and began firing," the statement said. 

"Enemies of the Afghan government continue to place women and children in harm's way by conducting illegal activities within common living areas, placing entire families at risk," the statement said. 

The U.S.-led coalition has about 8,000 troops under its command in Afghanistan, after overthrowing the Taliban's hardline Islamist government in 2001. NATO leads about 32,000 soldiers in the country. 

Thousands of civilians have been killed during fighting since the Taliban's ouster. Civilian deaths are a sensitive issue for the foreign forces and President Hamid Karzai's government, which largely relies on foreign funds and on foreign soldiers. 

(Additional reporting and writing by Sayed Salahuddin) 

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