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Hundreds protest in Afghanistan over civilian deaths in U.S. raid

Hundreds protest in Afghanistan over civilian deaths in U.S. raid

Hundreds of Afghans, some shouting "Death to America," protested in eastern Afghanistan yesterday after six people were killed during a raid by U.S.-led coalition forces.
Nangahar police spokesman Abdul Ghafur said the six dead were all civilians, including three women, but the U.S. military said four of those killed were Taliban fighters, while a woman and a teenage girl were killed in crossfire.
The military said the early yesterday morning raid had targeted a car bomb cell when its soldiers came under fire.
Civilian deaths 'unfortunate'
"We are saddened at the loss of civilian life," said Major Chris Belcher said in the statement. "It is extremely unfortunate that militants put others' lives in danger by hiding among their families."
Angry demonstrators blocked a main road near the provincial capital, Jalalabad, with tree branches. Some also chanted "Death to Karzai," referring to Afghan President Hamid Karzai who is seen by some Afghans as too close to his Western allies.
Several hundred civilians have died in fighting this year, most due to attacks by the Taliban, including suicide bombings, but a significant number also due to action by foreign forces. Last month, U.S. Marines killed several civilians when they opened fire in Nanglahar after their convoy was hit by a suicide car bomb.
The unit was recalled to the United States soon after and an inquiry is underway. That incident also triggered a major protest.
More than 4,000 people - including 1,000 civilians - died last year in the worst fighting since the Taliban were ousted in 2001. Fighting is picking up again after the traditional winter lull.
President Hamid Karzai head to Turkey yesterday, where he is due to meet Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, with the Taliban's use of Pakistani territory for shelter and training.
Islamabad denies any formal continuing support for the group it helped to power in the 1990s, but the issue has soured relations between the two neighbors.


Updated : 2021-06-18 10:31 GMT+08:00