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The Associated Press, January 13, 2013

7 civilians among 11 killed in ISAF raid

“Death to America!” one man shouted as he shook his fist, shown in an Associated Press video

By Rahim Faiez

An explosion Sunday killed seven Afghan villagers as they tried to pull bodies of dead insurgents from the rubble of a village mosque after a night raid by NATO and Afghan troops, officials said. Four insurgents and an Afghan soldier were also reported killed in the operation.

Night raids have long been a contentious issue between Afghanistan’s president, who says he does not want international troops in Afghan villages, and the NATO alliance, which says they are key to capturing Taliban commanders.

Even though Sunday’s deaths came hours after the troops left, locals were quick to protest against the U.S. troops that operate in the area.

“Death to America!” one man shouted as he shook his fist, shown in an Associated Press video. The villagers displayed the bodies of the dead wrapped in blankets and sheets.

The pre-dawn operation in Sayd Abad district was aimed at capturing a Taliban fighter who had holed up in a village, said Wardak province spokesman Shahidullah Shahid. The international and Afghan forces captured the militant but came under attack from insurgents, sparking a two-hour gunfight during which at least one large blast was heard, he said. Four insurgents were dead by the time fighting ended around 4:30 a.m.

Then about 6 a.m. local time, residents came out to find the local mosque partly destroyed and started digging through the rubble to uncover bodies. Shahid says something exploded as they dug, killing seven civilians. He says the insurgents were wearing suicide bomb vests, but it was not immediately clear if that caused the explosion.

A spokesman for international forces in Afghanistan confirmed that four insurgents were killed but did not have any immediate reports of civilian deaths.

“I am aware of reports that indicate there may have been civilians killed, and ISAF and Afghan officials are assessing the situation to determine the facts,” said Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman for the international military coalition in Afghanistan.

He said that there was no airstrike as part of the operation, but the NATO and Afghan troops did discover a large cache of weapons, which they destroyed on the site, causing a large explosion.

Report by PAN (Jan. 13, 2013):

The governor's office said the raid was carried out by Afghan and foreign troops in Timorkhel and Hassankhel areas of the Taliban-infested district at around 2 am last night.
Seven civilians, including a woman, were also killed while trying to recover the bodies. Another civilian was injured in the incident.
Shahidullah Shahid, the governor's spokesman, said they had sent a delegation to the area to investigate the incident and submit its findings. He condemned the civilian deaths, caused by any side, and extended his condolences to the victims’ families.
Meanwhile, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) insisted several armed insurgents were killed after they attacked an Afghan-coalition security force in Syedabad.
In response to an emailed query from Pajhwok Afghan News, the NATO-led force said a large cache of weapons and explosives was discovered by the security force during the operation.
But resident Abdul Ghaffar told Pajhwok Afghan News that coalition troops conducted the raid on the mosque where worshippers were offering morning prayers.
The foreign forces also fired at rescuers, who were retrieving the bodies and injured from the debris, he said, claiming 15 civilians were killed.
Another resident, Jawed Hassani, said American troops continued the operation in Hassankhel until morning. He claimed several civilians were killed and injured.
Haji Qudus, his wife, son and a grandson were killed during the raid. A schoolteacher, Muzamil, and two of sons were also killed, he said.


Afghans protest the killing of two civilians during a joint Afghan-NATO raid early Tuesday
May 1, 2012: Afghan villagers stand around the bodies of loved ones who were allegedly killed in an Afghan-led operation in Laghman east of Kabul, Afghanistan. NATO says a Taliban leader and another insurgent were killed after they opened fire on security forces taking part in an Afghan-led operation in the eastern province of Laghman. (Photo: Rahmat Gul/AP)

Afghans protest the killing of two civilians during a joint Afghan-NATO raid early Tuesday
May 1, 2012: Afghans protest the killing of two civilians during a joint Afghan-NATO raid early Tuesday. (Photo: Abdul Mueed/EPA)

Category: US-NATO, HR Violations - Views: 3660