Afghan Cops Killed During U.S. Operation

U.S. Brig. Gen. Joseph Votel center, deputy commanding general for operations for American forces in Afghanistan talks to officers of the Afghan National Army at Tagab district of Kapisa province, in Logar, Afghanista, on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008.
AP Photo
At least eight policemen were killed Thursday during an operation by U.S.-led coalition troops in central Afghanistan, an Afghan official said.

The officers died in the village of Ghariban in Ghazni province during an operation that included U.S. ground forces and air strikes, said the deputy head of Ghazni's provincial council, Habeb-ul Rahman. It was unclear whether Afghan troops also took part in the raid.

Two other villagers, including a woman, were killed in the clash, Rahman said.

It was not immediately clear how the officers and civilians were killed.

The U.S.-led coalition said it had yet to receive any information about fighting in that area.

Meanwhile, a blast in southern Afghanistan killed a NATO soldier and wounded two others Thursday, the alliance said. The troops were on patrol at the time of the explosion, which happened in volatile southern Afghanistan, NATO said. The nationalities of the dead and wounded soldiers or the exact location of the blast were not given.

Afghan police officials in Ghazni province, who spoke on condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the policemen appeared to have been killed by air strikes, which also destroyed several houses.

Their claim could not be independently verified.

Among the officers killed was the former provincial deputy police chief, Rahman said.

Faced with troop shortages, U.S. and NATO-led troops rely heavily on the use of airpower in their fight against Taliban and other militants in Afghanistan. Such tactics have caused many civilians casualties in past years, and at times caused friction with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who have urged caution and coordination with Afghan authorities.

U.S. and NATO officials accuse militants of using civilians as human shields.