Sunday, May 29, 2011

Nato forces kill 52 Afghan civilians and police, say officials

rfi Afghanistan - 
Article published the Sunday 29 May 2011 - Latest update : Sunday 29 May 2011

Villagers hold the bodies of two children killed in the Helmand province air strike
Reuters/Abdul Malik Watany
Nato air strikes have killed 52 people, including 20 police officers, in Afghanistan, officials said Sunday. The charges come amid increased fighting as the Taliban launch their spring offensive.
The international force, Isaf, has sent fact-finding teams to look into the accusations:
  • In Helmand, in the south, local authorities said at least 14 civilians, including women and children, were killed and six injured on Saturday after US Marines called in air support after their base came under small arms fire.
  • In Nuristan, in the north-east, the governor said that 18 civilians and 20 police were killed on Wednesday by "friendly fire" during US-led air strikes against insurgents.
Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

Nuristan was the scene of heavy battles last week between the Taliban and Afghan security forces, while Helmand has been one of the centres of the battle against the Taliban for several years. Civilian casualties in the US-led war are a sensitive issue and have led to numerous protests on the streets and by President Hamid Karzai.
Karzai on Saturday ordered Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak to take over control of night raids from the Nato forces.
tags: Afghanistan - Air strikes - Casualties - civilian - Helmand - Isaf - Military - Nato - Nuristan

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