Ten Afghan civilians killed

2009-12-28 19:02

Kabul - Ten civilians, mostly school children, have been killed during Western military operations in eastern Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai's office said on Monday, citing "initial reports."

Karzai condemned the killings, which his statement said took place in Kunar province, which borders Pakistan, on Saturday.

"Initial reports indicate that in a series of operations by international forces in Kunar province... 10 civilians, eight of them school students, have been killed," the statement said.

"President Karzai strongly condemns the operation which caused civilian deaths and has appointed a delegation to investigate the incident," it said.

A senior official in the Afghan government, speaking on condition anonymity, said the death toll could change because investigations are ongoing.

When contacted on Sunday, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had no information on any operations or casualties in Kunar.

A senior Western military official told AFP that US special forces have been conducting operations against militants in the border regions of Kunar.

"They have been killing a lot of Taliban and capturing a lot of Taliban," he said, speaking on condition that he not be named.

The operations were conducted independently of NATO and coalition forces, which number more than 110 000 fighting to eradicate the Taliban, he said.

Politicians walked out

Politicians representing Kunar walked out of an important parliamentary session debating appointments to Karzai's new cabinet to protest against the civilian casualties, television showed.

The border regions of Kunar have long been volatile as Taliban fighters are said to cross the porous border from Pakistan to fight Western troops and Afghan government forces.

The Afghan Taliban is led by Mullah Mohammed Omar, believed to be based in Pakistan, who has promised a surge of his own to match the influx of almost 40 000 US and NATO troops pledged for the coming year.

The reinforcements are part of a new strategy as Western military leaders and politicians try to turn around an eight-year war that is seen increasingly going the Taliban's way.

"In 33 out of 34 provinces, the Taliban has a shadow government," a Western military intelligence official told reporters on Sunday.

Omar "has a government-in-waiting, with ministers chosen" for the day the government falls, he added.

Taliban is strong

"Time is running out. Taliban influence is expanding," the military official warned. "Where the (Afghan) government is weak, the enemy is strong," able to exploit the corruption and unpopularity of Karzai's administration, he said.

US General Stanely McChrystal, who commands the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has been at pains to minimise civilian casualties in the fighting, although many are killed in Taliban suicide and roadside bomb attacks.

Civilian deaths cause widespread anger among Afghans exhausted by decades of war and are readily exploited in Taliban propaganda.

Most recently, Karzai condemned the killing of six civilians during a NATO raid in early December as US Defence Secretary Robert Gates vowed US troop reinforcements would keep civilian deaths to a minimum.

Karzai's office said six civilians, including a woman, died when troops from ISAF conducted an operation in Laghman province on the night of December 2.

Earlier on Monday, officials said Taliban-linked militants stormed a police post in north western Afghanistan, sparking a gunfight that killed two police and left three others missing.

The militants attacked the post late on Sunday in Badghis province, killing two officers, provincial police chief Sayed Ahmad Sameh told AFP.

Three other policemen were missing, he added.

Read more on:    nato  |  isaf  |  hamid karzai  |  afghanistan

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Friday Grabouw - 10:15 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS approaching Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2395.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.