Western troops accused of executing 10 Afghan civilians, including children
By Jerome Starkey In Kabul | The Times | December 30, 2009
Afghan investigators today accused US-led troops of dragging ten civilians from their beds and shooting them dead during a night raid.
Officials said that eight children and teenagers were among the dead and all but one of the victims were from the same family.
The reports led to angry protests in Kabul and Jalalabad, with children as young as 10 chanting “Death to America” and demanding foreign forces leave Afghanistan.
President Karzai sent a team of investigators to Narang district, in Kunar province, after reports emerged of a massacre. “The delegation concluded that a unit of international forces descended from a plane on Sunday night into Ghazi Khan village in Narang district of the eastern province of Kunar and took ten people from three homes, eight of them school students in grades six, nine and 10, one of them a guest, the rest from the same family, and shot them dead,” a statement on President Karzai’s website said.
Asked if the people were shot outside their homes, the President’s spokesman Waheed Omar said: “That is our understanding.”
Local elders confirmed that ten people were killed, but their accounts of raid differed.
“Three of the children were killed in their bedroom,” said a local elder Jan Mohammed. “The other five had their hands bound, then they were killed.”
According to the presidential statement, local US forces were “unaware of the incident”.
Investigators spoke to the headmaster of the local school who confirmed that all the children – aged 11 to 17 – were his students.
A spokesman for the US-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) was not immediately available for comment on the allegations.
A senior Western military official said that US Special Forces had been conducting operations in the area, separately from Isaf.
Military officials insisted the dead were all part of a cell responsible for manufacturing improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
“This was a joint operation that was conducted against an IED cell that Afghan and US officials had been developing information against for some time,” a senior Nato source said.
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