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'Afghan children' die in Nato raid
Local official contradicts Nato claim of insurgents being killed, saying four children have died in Ghazni attack.
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2010 14:02 GMT

A Nato raid in Afghanistan's eastern Ghazni province has killed four children and wounded three adults, an Afghan official has said.

Sher Khan Yousafzai, the chief of Andar district, told the local Pajhwok Afghan News that the Nato raid on Wednesday occurred after a joint patrol by Afghan and foreign forces came under attack.

Yousafzai said helicopter-borne Nato forces fired on the locals in an orchard near one of the district's towns, also named Andar.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said the international troops had killed seven civilians.

In a statement, Nato said its joint patrol came under small-arms fire from insurgents.

"After gaining positive identification on the insurgent position, an air weapons team engaged," the statement said. "The combined force called for a medical evaluation for wounded insurgents and reported approximately four insurgents had been killed".

The statement said Nato is aware of the allegations that civilians had been killed and would provide updates.

Wednesday's incident comes days after Nato was accused of killing 13 civilians in Laghman province on Sunday.

Al-Qaeda commander killed

Nato also said on Tuesday it was able to confirm that an air strike had killed Abadallah Umar Al Qurayshi, an al-Qaeda commander who "co-ordinated the attacks of a group of Arab fighters in Kunar and Nuristan Provinces".

Abu Atta Al Kuwaiti, an alleged al-Qaeda explosives expert, and seven Arab fighters were also killed in the bombing, Nato said in a statement.

According to the statement, Nato used "intelligence sources" to track al-Qurayshi to a remote compound in the Korengal Valley, a remote and violent stretch of Kunar province where residents speak a separate language from Pashto or Dari and, according to the New York Times, have repeatedly rebuffed offers of US aid.   

Forty-two US troops and many more Afghan soldiers were killed in the valley between 2006 and April 2010, when the United States decided to close the remote Korengal Outpost.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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