US forces kill 4 Afghan women, a child in anti-Taliban raid

Four women and one child were killed by US-led coalition forces during an operation in southern Afghanistan, in which several militants were also killed, the military said Friday, reported dpa.

The operation targeted a Taliban militant "known to coordinate foreign fighter operations" in Giro district of southern Ghazni province on Thursday, a US military statement said.

"As coalition forces approached a compound, they were threatened by several armed militants," it said. "The force responded with small-arms' fire, killing the militants and inadvertently killing four women and a child located with them."

The combined forces also killed several suspected militants and arrested three others, the statement said, adding that the forces also discovered home-made-making materials and destroyed them.

"The coalition regrets the death of these non-combatants," coalition spokesperson Rumi Nielson-Green was quoted as saying. "We are planning to conduct a full and thorough investigation," he said.

During a search of the area, a military working dog bit a local woman, but no medical treatment was necessary as the bite did not break the skin, the statement added.

Civilian casualties during the international military operations against Taliban insurgents have become a great matter of concern for the Afghan government's attempts to win the public support.

On Sunday, also in Ghazni province, a father and three of his sons were killed in a US-led operation according to provincial governor. The US military claimed that all the dead men were militants.

There are also mounting civilian casualties caused by suicide or roadside attacks carried out by Taliban fighters.

Around 1,000 civilians have been killed so far this year, with more than 260 in July, making it the deadliest month for civilians since the ouster of Taliban regime in late 2001.

More than 1,500 civilians were killed in violence last year.

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