U.S. Kills 5 Afghans In Raid On House

U.S. Kills 5 Afghans In Raid On House
March 23rd, 2009  
Team Infidel

Topic: U.S. Kills 5 Afghans In Raid On House

U.S. Kills 5 Afghans In Raid On House
New York Times
March 23, 2009
Pg. 5

By Abdul Waheed Wafa and Carlotta Gall
KABUL, Afghanistan — A predawn raid by United States Special Forces that killed five people on Sunday has produced sharply conflicting accounts from the American military and local Afghan officials as to whether the dead were civilians or militants, resurrecting a sore point that has troubled the American-led war here.
The United States military said in a statement that its forces killed five militants and detained four suspects in an operation against a “terrorist network” near the Afghan-Tajikistan border in the northern province of Kunduz. Local officials said that those killed were not militants and that the raided house belonged to the mayor of the town of Imam Sahib.
The military statement also said the operation was coordinated with the local Afghan police. But the provincial police chief, Gen. Abdul Razaq Yaqoubi, said no information had been given to him, the Kunduz governor or the head of intelligence.
He said the American unit that conducted the raid had called the police chief of Imam Sahib when it started the operation and specifically told the police not to go to the area.
The raid came after repeated complaints from President Hamid Karzai and provincial Afghan officials about the high civilian toll from, and public furor over, American-led counterterrorism operations, in particular overnight raids on houses and villages.
Some missions by elite Special Operations forces were halted in Afghanistan for two weeks in February to allow commanders to impose new safeguards intended to reduce the risk of civilian deaths, officials said.
The American military spokesman here could not be reached for comment on the conflicting accounts of the Sunday raid.
The statement on the raid issued by the American military said that when Afghan and coalition forces assaulted the compound they “encountered enemy combatants in the courtyard.”
“One militant was killed, and one surrendered and was detained,” the statement said. “When the forces called out for noncombatants to exit buildings in the compound, they were engaged with small arms fire. Forces returned fire and cleared the buildings on the compound, resulting in four militants killed and three suspected militants detained.”
The military found AK-47 rifles in the compound, the statement added. No women or children were present, it said.
General Yaqoubi confirmed that the compound belonged to Mayor Abdul Manan. “The targeted house belongs to the mayor of Imam Sahib, and those who were killed are his driver, his cook, his bodyguard and two of the guests,” he said. He said that he did not know who the four detained suspects were and that an investigation was under way.
Mr. Manan told The Associated Press that he was hunkered down in a room with his wife and children and had no contact with the troops during the raid. He said the helicopter-borne forces had blown open the gates of his compound.
The mayor is a well-known former mujahedeen commander, and was a member of Jamiat-i-Islami, the anti-Taliban faction that supported the American intervention in 2001, General Yaqoubi said.
German troops, as part of the NATO force, are responsible for security in the northern provinces of Kunduz, Takhar and Badakhshan, but the United States Special Forces have a base on the border with Tajikistan at Imam Sahib. The area is largely peaceful, although there have been occasional bomb attacks on German forces based in Kunduz.
Abdul Waheed Wafa reported from Kabul, and Carlotta Gall from Islamabad, Pakistan.

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