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    ANA soldier shoots girl dead in Paktia

    GARDEZ (PAN): A four-year-old girl was killed when an Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier opened fire at a car in Gardez, the capital of southeastern Paktia province, on Monday, police and residents said.

    The incident took place in the Bagh Shah area of the city, police chief Brig. Gen. Abdul Ghafar Sapi told Pajhwok Afghan News. He said the soldier was arrested and then handed over to ANA authorities after initial investigation.

    But the 302nd Thunder Military Corps spokesman expressed unawareness about the incident.

    Deputy provincial council head Abdullah Khan Ahmadzai said the girl was his niece and the car's driver his nephew.

    He urged the government to discipline the soldier, saying he would otherwise take action on his own.

    The head of the doctors' union of Paktia hospital, Abdul Hadi Hamas, said the slain girl was niece of a doctor Mohammad Asif. "If the government does not take action, we will go on strike," he warned.

    The girl's relatives, family members, tribal elders, council members and representatives of civil society organisations gathered in front of the civil hospital. They asked the government to bring the soldier responsible to justice.

    A tribal elder from Ahmadabad district, Muqbil Fazli, warned that if the government failed to punish the soldier, he would announce boycott of the government. He said he would wait until the incident was investigated.

    ma/kg