US forces in Afghan killing row


Jun 20, 2007

A bitter argument has arisen between an Afghan family and US-led coalition forces in the country over the shooting of a man in his twenties.

The man's family insists that he was not a militant, but the coalition says that he was an enemy combatant.

At the same time, charities in Afghanistan have strongly criticised foreign troops killing of civilians.

Aid agencies said earlier that foreign and Afghan forces had killed at least 230 civilians since the start of 2007.

'Falsely accused'

People in the southern city of Kandahar told the BBC that foreign troops had forcibly entered several houses, dynamiting their doors and conducting searches.

One man said that in one of the houses they had woken up his sleeping cousin, aged in his twenties, and killed him before letting dogs sniff around his dead body.

The man said the forces had also detained 10 people and falsely accused them of militancy.

Reports say the dead man's distraught relatives shouted that President Hamid Karzai must resign for letting foreign soldiers attack innocent people.

But a spokesman for the US-led coalition said coalition and Afghan forces entered a building in Kandahar and killed an "enemy combatant".

He said no civilians had been injured or killed, adding that he was not aware of there being any mistake.

The incident coincided with a statement issued by large group of charities working in Afghanistan who said they were concerned at the number of civilians being killed by international forces.

The charities alleged that faulty intelligence was often to blame.

"Excessive and disproportionate use of force is not only illegal and wrong but is also counter-productive," the Agency Co-ordinating Body for Afghan Relief (Acbar) warned.

Acbar, which brings together nearly 100 Afghan and international aid organisations, said such attacks created hostility towards international forces and made relief work more difficult.