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NATO Says Troops Kill Two Afghan Boys due to Mistaken Identity - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Afghan border police stand guard near seized weapons as they are displayed to the media at a police headquarters in Jalalabad on March 2, 2013. Seven Taliban insurgents have been arrested with their weapons by Afghan border police  during an operation in Ghani khel District of Nangarhar province. AFP PHOTO/ Noorullah Shirzada

Afghan border police stand guard near seized weapons as they are displayed to the media at a police headquarters in Jalalabad on March 2, 2013. Seven Taliban insurgents have been arrested with their weapons by Afghan border police during an operation in Ghani khel District of Nangarhar province. AFP PHOTO/ Noorullah Shirzada

KABUL, Reuters—NATO forces accidentally shot dead two boys during an operation in Afghanistan’s south, the alliance said on Saturday, in the latest in a series of incidents involving allegations of civilian deaths at the hands of international troops.

The shooting in the southern province of Uruzgan could further strain the relationship between the NATO-led International Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has demanded U.S. Special Forces leave another province over allegations of torture.

The two boys were shot dead when they were mistaken for insurgents during an operation in the northwest of Uruzgan on February 28, ISAF commander, U.S. General Joseph Dunford, said in a statement.

“I offer my personal apology and condolences to the family of the boys who were killed,” Dunford said in the statement.

“The boys were killed when Coalition forces fired at what they thought were insurgent forces,” he said.

A team of Afghan and ISAF investigators visited the village on Saturday and met with local leaders, Dunford said.

Australian forces, who are deployed in Uruzgan, said earlier there had been an “operational incident” in the province but gave no details.

On February 13 a NATO air strike requested by Afghan forces killed 10 people – including five children and four women – in the eastern province of Kunar, prompting Karzai to ban his troops from requesting foreign air strikes.

Two weeks later he halted all special forces operations in the central province of Wardak after a series of allegations involving U.S. special forces soldiers and Afghan men said to be working with them.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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