More Afghan civilian casualties reported, Taliban claims CIA deaths

US confirmed the Americans as CIA agents in an attack Taliban on Thursday claimed responsibility.

More Afghan civilian casualties reported, Taliban claims CIA deaths

The Taliban on Thursday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack inside a U.S. army base that killed eight CIA agents, saying that the attacker was an officer in the Afghan army.

A well-dressed Afghan army official detonated a suicide vest at a meeting of CIA officials in southeastern Khost province, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

"This deadly attack was carried out by a valorous Afghan army member when the officials (CIA agents) were busy gaining information about the mujahideen," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an email reply to Reuters' questions.

Meanwhile, US confirmed the Americans as CIA agents. The CIA has been expanding its presence in the country. The agency's controversial works in Afghanistan has been criticised by both Afghans and human rights groups.

"The eight Americans killed in a suicide bombing at a military base in southeastern Afghanistan on Wednesday were all CIA agents", U.S. officials said.

The explosion was at a military base in Khost province, U.S. officials said.

"We can confirm that there was an explosion in Khost province and eight Americans have been killed," said a U.S. official in Kabul.

Several others, none of them U.S. or NATO troops, were wounded in the explosion at Forward Operating Base Chapman, defense officials said, without providing any further details.

Separately, four Canadian soldiers and a Canadian journalist were killed when their armored vehicle was hit by a bomb in southern Kandahar province, the Canadian Defense Ministry said.

More Afghan civilian casualties?

An air strike by foreign forces in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province on Wednesday killed civilians, although the number of victims is unknown, a spokesman for the provincial governor said.

The news of more civilian casualties came on Thursday as hundreds of people staged a demonstration in eastern Kunar, where Saturday's raid took place.

"A patrol of foreign troops came under Taliban ambush at 3 pm.

After the ambush, planes came and bombed the area, which caused civilian casualties," said Dawud Ahmadi, spokesman for the Helmand governor. He could not yet give further details.

Officials are still investigating how many people died in the attack in the outskirts of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, he added.

A press officer for NATO-led forces declined immediate comment on the incident.

Protesters took to the streets in Afghanistan on Wednesday, burning an effigy of the US president and shouting "death to Obama" to slam civilian deaths during Western military attacks.

Asadullah Wafa, head of a presidential delegation sent to investigate the weekend attack in Kunar province in eastern Afghanistan, said he had confirmed that all of the dead was civilians.

"Those people that were killed were innocent civilians," Wafa told reporters in Asadabad, the provincial capital of Kunar. "We want to find and punish the person who has given the false information."

Eight boys, aged between 13 and 18, and two men in their 20s were killed, Wafa added.

Wafa's team spent several days interviewing local officials and relatives of the dead.

Obama early this month ordered 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghan invasion, leading people fearing higher civilian casualties.


Agencies

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Last Mod: 31 Aralık 2009, 13:31
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