In what appears to have been the latest in a growing string of civilian killings by the international alliance in Afghanistan, Kandahar police are confirming today that NATO soldiers shot and killed two civilians along the highway.
NATO forces in the area were, according to the official statement, hit by a roadside bomb shortly before the incident, and when the civilians approached on three motorcycles the troops opened fire, killing two. Four other civilians were briefly detained.
This week alone NATO has been involved in several incidents of civilian casualties. On Tuesday, NATO troops opened fire on civilian protesters in Helmand Province, killing 13. On Wednesday, US Marines opened fire on civilians protesting the Tuesday shootings, wounding five others. In another Wednesday incident a US drone attacked a “crowd of suspects” in a different part of Helmand Province, killing 13 unarmed people of unknown identity.
A report issued earlier this week by the United Nations showed 2009 was the deadliest year for Afghan civilians since the 2001 invasion. The multiple NATO incidents, coupled with Taliban roadside bombs over the past two weeks, point to 2010 continuing the trend of ever worsening violence.