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Nato commander apologises after troops shoot dead Afghan children

Coalition soldiers kill two boys in Uruzgan province in episode likely to worsen strained relations with President Hamid Karzai.

Nato said on Saturday its forces had accidentally shot dead two Afghan boys, in the latest of a series of reports of civilian deaths at the hands of international troops.

The shooting, in the southern province of Uruzgan, could further strain the relationship between the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) and Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who has demanded US special forces leave another province over allegations of torture. The two boys were shot dead when they were mistaken for insurgents during an operation in northwest Uruzgan on 28 February, Isaf commander US General Joseph Dunford said in a statement.

"I offer my personal apology and condolences to the family of the boys who were killed," Dunford said. "The boys were killed when Coalition forces fired at what they thought were insurgent forces." Dunford added that a team of Afghan and Isaf investigators visited the village on Saturday and met local leaders.

The area, Lowar-e-Dowahom, was often patrolled by international troops, a spokesman for provincial governor Amir Mohammad Akhundzada said. "They saw two young children who were apparently listening to a radio and they shot them – it is not yet clear why," the spokesman said.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/02/nato-apologises-...