Probe team finds 13 civilians killed in Parwan
CHARIKAR (Pajhwok): A fact-finding team, assigned by President Hamid Karzai, found 13 civilians, including four children and three women, had been killed during a joint Afghan-US forces’ operation in central Parwan province, an investigator said on Friday.
Local officials in Parwan, north of Kabul, said Tuesday International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan security forces came under heavy fire from a house in Vazghr area of Seyah Gard district and a result, two soldiers -- one each from ISAF and Afghan National Army (ANA) -- were killed.
In the ensuing battle, the joint forces called for an air support that left six civilians and 14 militants dead.
ISAF said Afghan Special Operations commandos and their coalition advisors had called in the defensive air support to suppress enemy fire.
The force expressed regrets on Wednesday that two civilians were killed “during a deliberately-planned, Afghan-led clearing operation to disrupt insurgent activity”.
But the Presidential Palace, disputing the way events unfolded, said it was an “American airstrike” that resulted in the civilian casualties, ordering a high level delegation to probe it.
The probe team, led by a lawmaker from Parwan, said it found that 13 civilians had been killed in the incident.
Iqbal Safi, a member of the team and parliamentarian, told Pajhwok Afghan News their investigation revealed civilians, including four young men, as many children, a young girl, two women and two elderly men, had been killed.
Safi said Abdul Sattar Khawasi, a lawmaker from Parwan, headed the fact-finding panel that involved three other members of parliament and representatives from the Ministry of Interior and Defense, the Attorney General's Office, the spy service and the Administrative Affairs Office at the Presidential Palace.
Safi said the delegation would present its report attached with some pictures taken at the scene to President Hamid Karzai.
President Karzai has condemned the incident and ordered the delegation to thoroughly investigate it and report him back.
ISAF has said the insurgents, including members of the Haqqani Network, were involved in attacks on the Bagram Airfield and other activities.
The Taliban on their website have only mentioned civilian casualties in the operation and give no detail about their own casualties or commenting on the ISAF statement.
President Karzai has been calling on foreign troops to stop raiding Afghan homes, one of the preconditions he has put forward for signing the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US.
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