Rahim Faiez & Heidi Vogt / Associated Press & Kavkaz Center & Candace Rondeaux / Washington Post – 2008-12-13 22:08:37
US Troops Open Fire on Bus in Central Afghanistan, Killing 4
Rahim Faiez & Heidi Vogt / The Associated Press
KABUL, Afghanistan (December 13, 2008) — US troops opened fire on a bus carrying civilians Friday in central Afghanistan, killing four passengers after their driver refused to stop, officials said.
A spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said the bus was heading toward 20 troops on foot patrol on a highway in central Wardak province. The troops first fired warning rounds in the air to stop the vehicle, then shot into the engine block. The bus kept coming, so they opened fire on the vehicle in self-defense.
The incident is one of a series that threatens to undermine Afghan support for foreign troops just as the United States prepares to boost its presence in the country. The U.N. said in September that 577 Afghan civilians had been killed this year by US, NATO and Afghan troops, a 21 percent jump from 2007. Taliban fighters and other insurgents killed another 800 civilians this year.
The bullet-ridden bus had been moved to the side of the road by the afternoon, and US troops cordoned off the area, according to an AP cameraman on the scene. US forces spokesmen declined to comment on the incident, referring all inquiries to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force because the troops were operating under its auspices.
Wardak and the neighboring province of Logar are two of the areas slated for a new infusion of US forces in January, the first of a potential 20,000 forces that US commanders have requested.
US military officials have said that insurgents are increasing attacks in the area in order to create a sense of insecurity at the gates of Kabul.
Pakistan to guard supply trucks: Pakistan deployed paramilitary troops to a group of terminals used by vehicles supplying NATO and US troops in Afghanistan after the latest in a string of attacks burned more than two dozen trucks destined for the critical supply route, which goes through the famed Khyber Pass.
Mass grave disturbed: The U.N. confirmed Friday that activity at a mass grave in northern Afghanistan may have damaged evidence supporting allegations of a massacre seven years ago involving as many as 2,000 Taliban prisoners who died after surrendering in 2001. McClatchy Newspapers first reported the tampering on Thursday.
Japan refueling approved: Japan’s ruling party pushed through a law on Friday to extend a refueling mission by its navy in the Indian Ocean, keeping a small but symbolic presence in the American-led military action in Afghanistan.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
US Troops Mistakenly Kill 6 Afghan Police
Candace Rondeaux / Washington Post
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (December 11, 2008) — US Special Forces in southeastern Afghanistan killed six Afghan police officers and injured 13 Wednesday in an incident that Afghan and US officials said was a case of mistaken identity.
The friendly fire incident occurred about midnight when US Special Forces troops who were engaged in an operation in the city of Qalat, in Zabol province, came face-to-face with a group of what they thought were Taliban insurgents, said Gen. Mohammad Yacoub Zabuli, a provincial police official. According to Zabuli and a US military statement, there was a brief exchange of gunfire before the US troops realized that the men firing on them were Afghan police.
Zabuli said that the Afghan police officers opened fire, thinking they were under attack from insurgents. US forces then called for air support and fired a missile at the area, he said.
“Coalition forces deeply regret the incident of mistaken fire,” Col. Jerry O’Hara, a US military spokesman, said in a statement released Wednesday. “Initial reports indicate this was a tragic case of mistaken identity on both parts.”
An armed insurgent who had barricaded himself inside a building in the area also was killed during the operation, and another insurgent was detained, according to the statement.
The US military said the target of Wednesday’s raid was an insurgent commander suspected of being behind repeated attacks on Afghanistan’s main highway. It was not clear if the commander was killed in the operation.
US troops have been involved in several friendly fire incidents with Afghan security forces this year, including one this summer that killed nine Afghan police officers. Afghan officials have decried what they call a lack of coordination between US-led coalition troops and Afghan security forces.
“We’re really concerned about these mistaken identity cases,” Zabuli said. “We want the US forces to stop these kinds of incidents from happening.”
Zabuli said a joint delegation of officials from the US military and the Afghan Defense and Interior ministries had been sent to the province to investigate the incident.
© 2008 Hearst Communications Inc.
Eight UK Marines Killed in Martyrdom Operation in Afghanistan
HELMAND (13 December 2008) — Eight British soldiers were killed in a Martyrdom operation Friday in Helmand province of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
A Mujahid approached UK soldiers on a foot patrol and detonated his explosives, killing eight invaders and wounding several others around 11 AM in Cherkhkan area of Sangin district in Helmand province, Taliban spokesman Qari Muhammad Yusuf said in a statement posted on a web-site that regularly carries press-releases of the Islamic Emirate.
UK Ministry of Defence said that three Royal Marines were killed in the explosion, AFP reports. According to AP, a 13-year-old boy detonated the bomb hidden under a stack of newspapers in a wheelbarrow.
The Taliban identified the Martyrdom seeker as ‘Abdul-Basit, not mentioning his age.
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