Protest in Afghanistan against killing of civilians by foreign troops (Lead)

September 1st, 2008 - 5:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Kabul, Sep 1 (DPA) Hundreds of Afghan demonstrators Monday took to the streets in the capital, accusing US military forces of killing a man and his two children in a raid earlier that day, witnesses said.The protesters, who were chanting anti-US military and anti-Afghan government slogans, blocked a road in Hudkhail, an area on the eastern outskirts of the Afghan capital, where several military bases of the NATO-led international forces are located.

“It was after midnight that the US soldiers blasted the gate of Noorullah’s house by explosives and then entered his house, killing him and two of his children,” Ahmad Sabor, one of the protestors said.

Sabor said that Noorullah’s wife was wounded in the attack and the soldiers arrested three other male members of the family.

NATO officials and US military spokesmen were not available for comment.

“The two dead children were two years old and nine months old respectively,” Abdul Wakil, Noorullah’s neighbour, said.

“Did the soldiers think they (the dead children) were terrorists? Or they knew that one day they will become Taliban? Then they should kill us all,” he added.

Tolo, a private TV channel showed footage of the bodies, surrounded by angry protesters.

Repeated civilians casualties during the international military’s operations against the Taliban and their Al Qaeda associates have angered Afghans, creating an apparent rift between the Afghan government and its foreign military backers.

Last month, Afghan and UN investigation teams found that more than 90 civilians, 60 of them children, were killed in Shindand district of western province of Herat in an air raid by US-led coalition forces.

The incident prompted President Hamid Karzai to fire two Afghan army commanders of the western region, while his cabinet ordered a review of foreign troops in the country, a resolution backed by Afghanistan’s parliament.

Two children and a woman were killed in the northern Kunduz province Friday when NATO-led German forces opened fire at their vehicle after the driver failed to stop at a checkpoint.

More than 1,000 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year, according to Afghan rights groups and an agency that coordinates aid in the country.

Monday’s protesters burnt tires on Jalalabad road which links Kabul to the eastern provinces and where most of the suicide attacks against the foreign forces have taken place in the past.

“We will continue to block the road, until the killers are punished and the three prisoners are released,” Jamil Jan, another protestor, said.

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