5 Afghan children killed by government, NATO forces
Foreign or Afghan forces killed five children in two separate incidents Monday, further inflaming tensions in the country over the killings of civilians by troops from the U.S. and other countries.
NATO said it accidentally killed three children in an artillery strike in eastern Afghanistan. It said NATO forces fired the rounds after insurgents attacked its patrol in Gayan district of Paktika province and one of the rounds hit a house, killing three children and injuring seven other civilians.
In a separate incident, foreign and Afghan forces killed a man and his two children and during a raid near Kabul, police and witnesses said. Angry men gathered at the victims' house in the Utkheil area east of the capital, where the three bodies were displayed inside a mud-walled compound.
The man's wife was wounded in the operation, said Yahya Khan, a cousin.
NATO warns of false claims by Taliban
In another sign of the sensitivity over civilian deaths, NATO issued an unusual statement warning that the Taliban planned to make a false claim about the killings of civilians in the south.
In a statement late Sunday, NATO said it had received information from "a reliable source" that insurgents planned to falsely claim international military forces killed up to 70 civilians in Sangin district in southern Helmand province.
The military alliance also said its forces had helped more than 20 wounded civilians who approached two of its bases in Helmand province.
NATO said the civilians were wounded in two separate incidents involving insurgents.
"Insurgents ransacked three compounds and killed three women and an unspecified number of children," in Helmand's Sarevan Qaleh village, NATO said in a statement, quoting one of those wounded. "He then reported that the insurgents had shot him in both kneecaps before fleeing," it said.
The claims could not be independently verified and have not been reported by Afghan authorities.
NATO said it condemns the "use of the plight of innocent civilians for propaganda gain by insurgents."
Civilian deaths cause tension
The latest deaths deepened strains between the Afghan government — under pressure from an increasingly irate public — and foreign forces in the country who are accused of killing dozens of civilians in the past few weeks alone.
Afghan officials accuse foreign forces of killing up to 90 civilians during an Aug. 22 operation in the country's west. The U.S. denies the accusation, saying its troops and Afghan commandos killed 25 militants and five civilians in the operation.
Conflicting reports on Kabul raid
The raid in the eastern outskirts of Kabul was conducted by U.S. troops backed by Afghan intelligence agents, said police officer Qubaidullah, who like many Afghans, goes by one name.
The raid — which killed a man and two of his children — left the house with broken windows and bullet holes in the walls. Three other men, all related to the victims, were detained during the operation but later released, a cousin said.
But U.S. coalition spokesman 1st Lt. Nathan Perry said no American troops took part in the operation. NATO-led forces said they had no information about the raid and could not confirm their troops participated either.
The warning of a possible civilian casualty claim came hours after the separate U.S.-led coalition command said its troops killed more than 220 insurgents in a week of fighting in the same province. The coalition did not say where the militants were killed.