Coalition forces kill Afghan civilians, guards, say police
Two Afghan guards and three civilians, all working for a local government official, were killed by foreign soldiers, an Afghan police official said Sunday - but US-led coalition said those killed were militants, dpa reported.
A unit of coalition soldiers landed by helicopter in Emamsahib district of northern Kunduz province Sunday morning and stormed the district mayor's resident, Abdul Rahman Aqtaash, deputy provincial police chief said.
"The forces killed two mayor's bodyguards, two of his servants and his cook," Aqtaash said, adding that forces also seized two of mayor's relatives and took them to an unknown location.
However, the US-led coalition forces said in a statement that their forces killed five militants and detained four during an operation targeting a "terrorist network" in the district.
"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 non-combatants 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 added.
The statement said the operation was coordinated with Afghan local police - but Aqtaash rejected the claim, saying Afghan police were not aware of the operation and it was carried out "unilaterally."
Aqtaash said the mayor, Sufi Manan, and his family were inside the house at the time of the attack but were not hurt.
"Manan has been working as the mayor for Emamsahib for the past three years and he had no connection with the Taliban or terrorists, even in the past," he said.
Civilian causalities have become a sensitive issue in the country and have strained relations between the Afghan government and its international military backers.
More than 2,100 civilians were killed in the conflict last year, according to United Nations, nearly 40 per cent at the hands of Afghan and international forces and rest in Taliban-led attacks.