Just days after General David McKiernan announced his “revised tactical order” designed to reduce the number of civilians killed in NATO raids, Australian special forces surrounded a house in the Afghan province of Oruzgan and opened fire, killing district governor Razi Khan and two of his bodyguards, and injuring two others.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai referred to the killings as a “misunderstanding,” and said Governor Khan had been a close associate of his. The incident occurred at the house of a friend of the governor, who believed his house had been surrounded by Taliban, not Australian troops.

Before his stint as district governor, Razi Khan was also the police chief for the province. During that time he had to contend with Taliban forces occupying one of his more remote police headquarters, and survived an assassination attempt in late 2006, when a suicide bomber targeted his vehicle, killing four civilians and wounding 25 others.

The Australian military says it takes a matter very seriously and has promised to cooperate with Afghan authorities in an investigation of the incident. NATO has also promised to investigate the report. No Australian troops were harmed in the raid.

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