US: 5 suspected militants killed in Afghan raid
U.S.-led coalition and Afghan troops killed five suspected militants during a raid in northern Afghanistan on Sunday, the coalition said in a statement.
A local government official in the region said it was his house that was targeted and those killed were not militants, AP reported.
The coalition said five were killed and four others were detained during the early morning raid that targeted a "terrorist network" in Kunduz province, close to the border with Tajikistan.
"During the initial assault of the compound, forces encountered enemy combatants in the courtyard. One militant was killed and one surrendered and was detained," the statement said.
"When the forces called out for noncombatants to exit buildings on the compound, they were engaged with small arms fire. Forces returned fire and cleared the buildings on the compound, resulting in four militants killed and three suspected militants detained," it said.
Abdul Manan, the mayor of Imam Sahib district, said the raid targeted his house and killed two of his guards, a cook, a driver and another man.
Manan said the forces arrived in helicopters, blew open the compound gates and killed the men inside the compound.
Manan said he was hunkered down inside one of the compound rooms with his wife and children. He said there was no contact between the coalition troops and him during the raid.
The coalition statement said "no women or children were present in the targeted attacks."
Abdul Rahman Akhtash, the deputy provincial police chief, said about 300 people gathered in Imam Sahib later Sunday to protest the raid.
Civilian deaths in coalition raids has been one of the most sensitive issues between Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and foreign troops in the country. The civilian deaths undermine Karzai's authority and turn the local people against his government and the foreign troops that back it.
U.S. and NATO officials say the militants regularly operate out of civilian homes and areas and portray their dead fighters as civilians to stoke public anger.
Independent confirmation of what happened in the raid was not possible because of the remoteness of the area.
Also Sunday, a roadside bomb exploded in the country's eastern Khost province, wounding 12 road construction workers who were traveling in a minibus to their job northeast of Khost city, said the provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Qayum Baquizai.