PAN, July 17, 2008

Foreign troops confirm civilian killings in Farah

Afghan officials said nine people; all members of the same family were killed in Tuesday's bombing.

KABUL: U.S.-led coalition troops Thursday conceded that eight Afghan civilians have been killed in an air strike in the western province of Farah during a raid against suspected militants.

A statement emailed to Pajhwok Afghan News said a coalition convoy on a routine patrol in Bakwa, Farah province came under sustained attack from machine gun and indirect fire from a number of houses adjacent to the road.

The coalition convoy returned fire and called for close air support on the enemy positions. A house was hit; eight civilians were killed, two others injured.

It further adds the coalition forces never intentionally target non-combatants, and deeply regret any occurrence such as this where civilians are killed and injured as a result of insurgent activity and actions.

The acknowledgement came as reports of more civilian deaths caused by a fresh air raid by foreign forces emerged on Thursday from the neighboring province of Herat.

Afghan officials said nine people; all members of the same family were killed in Tuesday's bombing.

In Thursday's raid, at least four men were killed, a spokesman for the regional police command said. Witnesses said 17 people were also wounded and taken to hospital.

The issue of civilian casualties is highly sensitive one for the Western-backed government and undermines Afghan support for the presence of foreign forces that are fighting the Taliban-led insurgents in Afghanistan.

The U.S. military says it is investigating reports by Afghan officials that around 60 civilians were killed in two separate air strikes by U.S.-led coalition forces this month in eastern Afghanistan.

Reports reveal that more that 800 civilians have been killed by airstriks and bombings by the foreign troops in Afghanistan during current year.

Characters Count: 2055

URL for news «Foreign troops confirm civilian killings in Farah»