Four Afghan civilians killed in rocket attack on NATO bases

Four Afghan civilians including a woman and a child were killed in eastern Afghanistan, while militants fired rockets from Pakistani soil on bases of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, officials said on Sunday. ( dpa )

Some 27 rockets were fired from across the border in Pakistan and hit areas around NATO and Afghan military bases in south-eastern province of Paktika and Khost on Sunday night, the Afghan Defence Ministry said in a statement.

It said 13 of the rockets landed in Kundai area in Khost province in and around the combined military bases, causing no casualties on the side of joint forces, but killed four civilians, it said.

Afghan forces responded to the attack with heavy artillery, the statement said, but could not provide any casualty figures for the militants.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) also confirmed the rocket attacks on its bases and said that only one hit their base, causing minimal damage but no reported casualties.

"ISAF responded in self-defence to the second rocket attack with artillery fire on the launch site located about 300 metres inside Pakistan," it said, adding that "the Pakistan military was immediately notified when ISAF forces came under fire."

Afghan and US officials accuse the Pakistani government of making no efforts to stop cross-border attacks on Afghan and coalition forces by insurgents hiding in the lawless Pakistani tribal region that borders Afghanistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai last week warned that he would send troops inside Pakistan to track down militants and destroy their bases.

Karzai's threats sparked vehement reactions from Islamabad, where officials said they would not allow any foreign force to carry out anti-terrorism campaigns in their country.

Meanwhile, five militants including a rebel commander were killed in a coalition airstrike in north-eastern Afghan province of Kapisa on Sunday, Matyullah Safi, provincial police chief said.

The commander, Abdul Wali, along with his four fighters were killed in Tagab district of the province, Safi said.

Around 2,000 people, mostly insurgents and civilians, have been killed in violence so far this year.

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