Afghan official says US military killed six civilians
(dpa) - An Afghan official said on Wednesday that the US special forces killed six civilians including two children and a woman in an operation in the south-eastern region.
Khaibar Pushton, spokesman for provincial governor said that the raid happened in Aom village of Nader Shahkot district to Khost province on Tuesday night.
"According to our information from the area, all six, who were killed were civilians, including two children and a woman in the overnight operation by the US Special Forces," Pushton said, adding that an investigation was launched to find the facts surrounding the incident.
However, US military said in a statement that their forces were targeting a Taliban militant who was involved in roadside attacks against the Afghan and international forces and as well as weapons facilitation operations.
The statement said that several militants, including a woman and a child were killed during the operation, adding that two suspected militants were also detained by the combined forces.
"Several armed militants, two of whom were barricaded in a building, opened fire on coalition forces after they entered the compound," Major Chris Belcher, a US military spokesman was quoted in the statement as saying.
"Coalition forces returned fire killing Bismullah, his brother Rahim Jan, as well as several other armed militants," Belcher said, adding that Rahim Jan was also believed to be a militant, conducting roadside attacks.
"Coalition forces discovered a dead woman during a post-hostilities assessment in a building where one of the barricaded militant's fired on coalition forces from," the statement said, adding, "They discovered a dead child in another building where another barricaded militant was killed."
The civilian deaths came a day after an Afghan lawmaker claimed that around 50 people with more than half of them civilians were killed in a NATO military airstrike in southern Helmand province.
The NATO forces in Kabul rejected the claim, saying that all the one dozen dead people were armed Taliban militants.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has pleaded several times with the international forces in the country to avoid civilian casualties, warning them that they would face defeat, as civilian deaths during the anti-terrorism operation would increase the local support for Taliban militants.