South Asia News
NATO launches probe into killing of 7 Afghan security contractors
Dec 11, 2010, 12:43 GMT
Kabul - NATO said Saturday it was looking into allegations that seven members of a private security firm were killed by foreign troops in south-eastern Afghanistan.
The incident happened in Rohani Baba, a village in Paktia province on early Saturday, Abdul Rahman Mangal, the deputy provincial governor said. An unknown number of private security forces were killed by the NATO troops, he alleged.
The NATO-led led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed in a statement that its forces, backed by Afghan troops, had killed seven armed individuals during an anti-insurgent operation.
The combined forces encountered a group of armed men inside a vehicle after they detained a suspected arms dealer near Gardez, the provincial capital, it said.
One of the men got out of the vehicle and was shot dead by the joint forces after being assessed as 'hostile,' the statement said, adding, 'Multiple other armed individuals then engaged the force, which resulted in a total of seven individuals killed.'
ISAF said it was assessing 'who the individuals were, why they were armed and why they were in that area at that time of the morning.'
Dozens of people took to streets in Gardez city later on Saturday, chanting anti-US and Afghan government slogans, the BBC reported.
The demonstrators burned an effigy of US President Barack Obama and called on the Afghan government to punish those 'spies' who led the foreign troops against the civilian targets in the province, the report said in Pashtu, one of the two formal languages.
The demonstration turned violent when the mob began throwing stones at police, who were trying to disperse the protesters, the report said, adding that one policeman and seven demonstrators were injured.
Nearly 150,000 international forces are currently fighting the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. Night raids have become a major area of contention between international forces and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has long been publicly critical of the amount of civilian casualties during night operation.
Such raids - mainly conducted by US special forces - have increased sharply to about 200 a month, a five fold rise since 2009. In the past three months, the troops have reportedly killed or captured 368 insurgent leaders in such nightly operations.
Karzai in a newspaper interview last month said he and his people were getting impatient with a war that had been going on for nearly a decade, and in particular wanted to see 'an end to nighttime raids by foreign troops on Afghan homes.'
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