PAN, August 4, 2008

Civilian deaths spark anti-coalition protest in Ghazni

Resident Abdullah said the US-led forces had also detained three members of the family from the Badri village.

Sher Ahmad Haidar

GHAZNI CITY: Dozens of tribal elders and residents Monday staged a protest against the killings of four members of a family during on overnight operation in the southern Ghazni province.

Angry residents brought the dead bodies of a father and three of his sons - allegedly killed by the foreign troops - from the Waghaz district to the provincial capital. They complained to Governor Dr. Muhammad Usman Usmani of the coalitions imprecise action.

Gubernatorial spokesman Ismail Jahangir told Pajhwok Afghan News Usmani assured the protestors that coalition soldiers would be asked about the operation. "Please, go home and bury the dead; we will discuss the issue with the coalition," he told the protestors.

A father and three of his sons were killed in a US-led coalition operation in Waghiz district of southern Ghazni province on Sunday night, Sayed Ismail Jahangir, spokesman for provincial governor, said.
Relatives brought the bodies of the four to the governor's office on Monday morning and 'claimed they were all civilians,' Jahangir said.
Deutsche Press Agentur , Aug.4, 2008

Resident Abdullah said the US-led forces had also detained three members of the family from the Badri village. The dead and detainees were poor farmers with no links to Taliban or al-Qaeda networks, he insisted.

Muhammad Karim, another protestor, claimed the troops searched his house and roughed him up without any reason. "Im a shopkeeper known to all area people. The soldiers took away all commodities from my shop," he alleged.

But the US-led forces insisted those killed during the operation were militants. The action led to the capture of an anti-coalition insurgent, said a statement from the Bagram Airbase.

Coalition forces searched compounds in Waghaz, targeting a militant that has planed IED attacks and conducted indirect-fire attacks against Coalition forces, the press release added.

Several armed militants attempted to engage the force, who responded with small-arms fire, killing the militants. The soldiers discovered IED-making materials, several AK-47s and ammunition vests.

Civilian deaths in NATO and coalition raids have increased in Afghanistan. More than 100 civilians have perished in recent operations in Kandahar, Farah, Nuristan, Nangarhar and Herat provinces.

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