NATO "sorry" for killing Afghans, to investigate
NATO-led forces in Afghanistan said on Saturday they would investigate the killing of four Afghans, reported by police to include a child and two women, by foreign troops in southern Kandahar city, Reuters reported.
"We are deeply sorry for the loss of any life, especially civilians," spokesman Colonel Wayne Shanks was quoted as saying in a NATO statement.
A Kandahar police official said a U.S. military convoy opened fire on a civilian vehicle, killing a child, two women and a man. A spokesman for NATO was unable to confirm the age and gender of the casualties.
The convoy involved appeared to belong to U.S. Special Forces, police official Shah Agha told Reuters.
The NATO statement said one of its convoys had shot at a civilian vehicle after it failed to stop when signaled to do so, killing four aboard and possibly wounding two others. It would not disclose the nationality of the troops involved.
"ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) troops tried repeatedly to signal the fast-approaching vehicle with passive measures, but fearing for their safety fired on the vehicle," the statement from the alliance said.
The incident comes while preparations are under way for Afghanistan's presidential election run-off, which the Taliban vowed earlier to disrupt and urged Afghans to boycott.
U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, the new U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, issued a directive in July stressing the importance of avoiding civilian casualties, which have undermined support for the war against the Taliban.