An Afghan child was shot and killed Wednesday when NATO forcesopened fire ona car they believed was a threat.

The shooting happened about two kilometres outside the Kandahar airfield, the largest military base in southern Afghanistan.

NATO forces were travelling toward Kandahar City in a convoy when avehicle was driving nearby. According to a statement released by NATO, thecar"failed to heed warnings to stop."

A soldier then fired a shot that hit and killed a child inside the vehicle.

Coalition forces would not talk about the incident, but said they have no way of knowing when a vehicle is driving near a convoy whether it's a civilian behind the wheel or a suicide bomber.

But they did admit theymustdo a better job at warningAfghan civilians who drive to keep their distance from convoys.

The nationality of the soldier and the age of the child are not known.

Past incidents

This was at least the eighth civilian to be killed by gunfireby NATO soldiers on public roads since mid-November.

Two weeks ago while Afghan President Hamid Karzai was visiting Kandahar City,a Canadian soldier shot and killed 85-year-old Haji Abdul Rahma when he got too close to a convoy.

His family said he was a friend of Karzai's and wanted to see the president.

According to Human Rights Watch, more than 1,000 civilians have died in Afghanistan in the past year as a result of the conflict, with insurgent attacks and malnutrition accounting for most of the deaths.

Karzai himself has spoken publicly about the loss of Afghan citizens, saying it is unacceptable.

"We are extremely worried, it hurts us, it hurts the Afghan civilians and we are rightly angered by it and worried by it and NATO is also worried by it and is working together with us to reduce such casualties," Karzai said.

With files from the Associated Press