Friday, 19 September 2008

Three civilians killed in botched raid

Governor Rozi Khan and two bodyguards were killed.

AUSTRALIAN special forces troops in Afghanistan have accidentally killed a district governor and two of his bodyguards in a botched raid that will pose a further setback to the [war against indigenous afghanistanis.]

The provincial police chief, General Juma Gulab Khan, confirmed last night that Australian troops in the southern province of Oruzgan had surrounded a house they suspected of harbouring Taliban fighters and shot a district chief, Rozi Khan.

He said Rozi Khan, a former police chief, had gone to the house of a friend who thought his house was surrounded by Taliban militants. In fact, the house had been surrounded by Australian troops

The Defence [War] Force said of the incident last night that special forces troops may have accidentally killed several Afghan police near the provincial capital, Tarin Kowt, but had been returning fire in self-defence.

"After being fired upon from a number of locations the [special [war] forces] patrol returned fire in self-defence," a statement said.

"Although the facts are not clear at present, it is possible that a number of Afghan police may have been killed."

General Khan said that two bodyguards were killed and another two injured in the firefight.

The botched raid comes just days after the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, called for a review of the use of lethal force after the deaths of scores of civilians in a series of controversial attacks.

The attacks have caused growing tension between the Afghan Government and the Western forces.

A Defence [War] spokesman said last night the details remained unclear but the incident was under investigation.

"The Australian Defence [War] Force takes all such incidents very seriously and is conducting an assessment to clarify the circumstances of the attack," he said.

"The ADF will work closely with [the international forces] and Afghan authorities both in Oruzgan province and in Kabul to investigate this matter."

Rozi Khan was the district governor of Chora district, a former mujahideen commander and an influential tribal leader.

But General Khan denied Defence reports that the other men killed were policemen.

Three policemen in Uruzgan were killed when a bomb hit their patrol in Oruzgan on Thursday, he said, adding that no other casualties were caused by Australian troops.

The Afghan President, Harmid Karzai, expressed sorrow over the killing, which he called a "misunderstanding," and said the district chief had been a close associate.

Last November, two women and a baby were killed in a battle between Australian forces and the Taliban.

In the wake of a recent US airstrike on a village that accidentally killed as many as 92 civilians, the US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, personally apologised and President Karzai called for new rules of engagement.

A UN report this week said the number of civilians killed in the conflict had risen 40 per cent this year to 1445, with about 45 per cent blamed on Afghan and Western forces.

Mr Gates said this week that the US Government was planning to send extra troops to the country next year.

General McKiernan said on Tuesday he needed more than 10,000 extra combat troops to fight the growing insurgency.


AFGHANISTAN: End the slaughter
An Afghan woman who lost family members weeps after air strikes on Friday in Azizabad district of Shindand August 23, 2008. An UN investigation suggested that 60 children were killed in the airstrike. Australian troops are not restoring peace in Afghanistan but working for oil company profits, amongst other things.

Austraila detained Afghans in 'dog pens'
Australian special forces troops detained suspected Taliban militants [or indigenous Afganistanis] in "dog pens" in actions which have prompted a protest from the Afghan ambassador.

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