US troops kill three civilians in Afghanistan: official

December 17th, 2008 - 10:34 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanKabul, Dec 17 (DPA) Three civilians were killed and two others injured when their house was attacked by US soldiers in eastern Afghanistan Wednesday, an official said.A man, his wife and 15-year-old son were killed in a coalition force raid in Khost, the capital of the province of the same name, a senior provincial official, who declined to be named, said.

He said two other civilians, a woman and a child, were wounded by “US soldiers firing”. The official said the coalition forces did not inform the Afghan security forces of their operation in advance.

The US military said in a statement that its forces conducted a raid along with Afghan police forces against an Al Qaeda liaison and killed three militants.

The statement said insurgent had barricaded themselves inside the compound and opened fire on the combined forces as they approached.

Five other militants were detained, including one “believed to be in direct contact with Al Qaeda leaders outside of Afghanistan,” the statement said.

It said that a woman was wounded in the fighting and evacuated to a military hospital, where she was recovering.

“A search of the compound revealed multiple AK-47s, hand grenades, pistols, one shotgun and other military equipment,” it added.

Mounting civilian casualties at the hands of international forces during the anti-Taliban operations have angered Afghans.

Afghan officials have repeatedly warned in the past that the civilian deaths would erode public support for the government and provoke anti-Western sentiment in the war-ravaged country.

More than one-third of the 4,000 people killed in Afghan conflict in the first eight months of this year were civilians, according to estimates provided by the UN office in Afghanistan.

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