Reuters, February 6, 2010
Afghan police kill seven boys collecting firewood
Last year, 2,400 Afghan civilians were killed in Taliban attacks and Afghan and NATO-led operations, according to the United Nations
Seven Afghan boys were shot dead on Saturday by police who mistook them for insurgents, a provincial police official said.
I recently rode with the ANP to the scene of a suicide bombing.
When we reached the blast scene, crowds of scavengers had started trying to steal bits of scrap metal from the burned-out vehicles.
The policemen beat them away with wooden sticks. One policeman grabbed a mobile phone from a man's hands and put it in his pocket. When the man tried to complain he was beaten.
With such scenes commonplace and an Afghan populace too scared, and too mistrustful, to ask for the police's help, let alone make a complaint against bad behaviour, it's hard to see how the ANP will be "fit for purpose" anytime soon.
The Guardian, Nov. 6, 2009
The boys were collecting firewood when police opened fire on them in the border town of Spin Boldak, southern Kandahar province, Abdul Raziq, police commander for the town, said.
The police had been detained and were being questioned, he said.
Spin Boldak has been an entry point for Pakistani insurgents who infiltrate Afghanistan to stage attacks against the government and international forces.
Last year, 2,400 Afghan civilians were killed in Taliban attacks and Afghan and NATO-led operations, according to the United Nations.
The killing of civilians is a sensitive issue and President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly warned that civilian deaths sap support for his administration and for the presence of some 115,000 foreign troops in the country.
(Reporting by Ismail Sameem; Writing by Hamid Shalizi; Editing by Nick Macfie)
Characters Count: 1930