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NATO admits killing civilians in botched raid

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The NATO-led force in Afghanistan has acknowledged it killed five Afghan civilians, including three women, during a botched night raid on a home in the south-east of the country in February.

Civilian casualties during operations by foreign forces cause deep anger among Afghans and president Hamid Karzai has called for night raids to be banned.

"International forces were responsible for the deaths of three women who were in the same compound where two men were killed by the joint Afghan-international patrol searching for a Taliban insurgent," the alliance said in a statement.

NATO said its troops had entered the house on February 12 in the Gardez district of Paktia province, believing an insurgent was inside.

They killed the two men because they carried weapons, although later learned they were not insurgents.

"We now understand that the men killed were only trying to protect their families," Brigadier General Eric Tremblay, spokesman for NATO-led forces, said in the statement.

The three women were killed during the shooting, NATO said.

NATO had earlier said its troops had found the women already killed, bound and gagged, but later acknowledged that this was untrue.

Troops who visited the scene had made the mistake after seeing the bodies bound in preparation for burial, it said.


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