Karzai seeks NATO report on night raid deaths

AP News
Posted: Oct 17, 2011 1:06 PM
Karzai seeks NATO report on night raid deaths

Afghanistan's president on Monday said he was asking NATO to provide an explanation of why three members of the family of a former Afghan senator were killed in an operation by international forces. NATO said two of the dead were women.

Hamid Karzai's office said two other members of Sameh Jan Sherzad's family were also detained in the operation in the pre-dawn hours of Sunday in eastern Wardak province's Chaki Wardak district. The statement said NATO must say what actionable intelligence it had that led to the raid on the former lawmaker's family.

The U.S.-led coalition has grappled with fallout from other such raids in the past, but insists such operations are necessary to cement security gains in the war-ravaged nation and to target key insurgents.

NATO said it was aware of the statement from Karzai's office and would "cooperate fully" with the government to "assess the incident."

The coalition said the incident occurred when a combined Afghan and NATO force was searching the area for a Haqqani network leader responsible for attacks on Afghan officials. The group is a Taliban and al-Qaida-linked movement that operates out of Pakistan.

The troops approached a compound where the suspected insurgents were believed to be and called for them to exit peacefully. Instead, someone aimed a rifle at the joint force from a window, the coalition said in an e-mailed statement. The troops opened fire, killing the individual. Two others who appeared with weapons were shot dead, the statement said.

NATO said that once the troops entered the building, they discovered that two of the three armed individuals who were killed were women. Two other suspected insurgents were detained, and three assault rifles, other weapons and bomb-making materials were seized.

The statement from Karzai's office did not provide a breakdown of who was killed or detained. But Karzai has repeatedly blasted the U.S.-led coalition for the so-called night raids, saying they often take place without coordination with Afghan officials and result in civilian casualties. NATO says these night raids always involve Afghan security forces.

Such raids are also a strain on Karzai's government, as Afghans complain that the coalition operates with impunity in their fight against the Taliban and affiliated insurgents.

The announcement of the deaths came on the day a suicide bomber on foot struck the convoy of a northern Afghanistan provincial intelligence chief, killing a boy and wounding the official, the region's deputy governor said.

The suicide bomber struck the convoy of Gen. Sayed Ahmad Sadat as he was driving by on his way to work in Maimanah, capital of Faryab province, said the provincial deputy governor, Abdul Satar Barez.

Barez said a bystander, a boy about 3 years old, was killed, and Sadat and four of his bodyguards were wounded.

The province has largely seen less violence than Afghanistan's restive south and regions along the eastern border with Pakistan, where the Taliban has deeper roots and has waged a particularly fierce campaign against U.S.-led forces in the decade-long war.

The attack in Faryab came a day after five Afghan soldiers and three insurgents were killed in violence throughout the country.

The Taliban routinely attacks both NATO troops in the country and Afghan military and security forces which the U.S.-led coalition has been training. The insurgents also target Afghan officials and others loyal to Karzai's government.

NATO is aiming to withdraw its combat forces from the country by the end of 2014.

NATO also said an insurgent was killed in Faryab's Ghormach district on Sunday during a joint operation it conducted with Afghan forces. The operation was searching for a Taliban leader in the area, NATO said.

In the south, a Taliban leader and his associate were killed on Sunday in a precision air strike in Zabul province, the coalition said on Monday, adding that the target of the operation was responsible for roadside bombings and ambush attacks on Afghan forces in the province.

Separately, a joint Afghan-NATO patrol seized 200 pounds (100 kilograms) of opium and 220 pounds (100 kilograms) of ammonium nitrate, which is used in both for explosives and as a fertilizer, in Helmand province. The Taliban use drug sales to partly fund their operations.