US forces attacked a house in the eastern Afghanistan city of Khost today, killing the house’s owner along with his wife and son, and wounding two others. Though a local official and several residents insist the three were “ordinary people, innocent people,” the US insists they were all insurgents suspected of links with al-Qaeda. Five other “suspects” were reported captured in the course of the action. An investigation is promised by Afghan authorities.
The latest apparent civilian deaths come as UN envoy Kai Eide once again cautioned the international forces, operating in Afghanistan under a UN mandate, to do a better job of avoiding civilian casualties.
“There is a need to revise the agreement that exists,” Eide said, proposing multiple changes including avoiding air strikes in populated areas, making Afghan troops the first to enter houses during raids, and making information about detainees available. “If the right provisions are in with regard to house searches, for instance, I believe we can avoid tragic mistakes that are being made today,” the official added.
This is the second incident of NATO-caused civilian deaths in less than a week, as a NATO foot patrol killed four civilians after attacking a busload of civilians in “self-defense” in Wardak Province, coincidentally also on a day when Eide made a statement warning of growing civilian casualties.