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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Eight killed in pre-dawn raid in Afghanistan

Eight killed in pre-dawn raid in Afghanistan Updated Thu. Aug. 24 2006 7:31 AM ET CTV.ca News Eight people, including a child, have been killed in a pre-dawn raid by U.S. and Afghan forces in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said. The coalition forces said seven of the men killed in the raid in Kunar province were suspected al-Qaeda members. But local officials in the eastern Afghanistan village disputed the claim, saying those targeted were tribal elders who had congregated to resolve a dispute. U.S. forces launched the raid Thursday to capture a "known al Qaeda facilitator" at a compound in Asmar village the military said in a statement. The suspected al Qaeda facilitator was being sought for involvement in attacks on coalition forces, the military said. "Afghan and coalition forces came under direct fire when approaching the compound and defended themselves with return fire," the U.S. statement said. "All of the men killed were engaging Afghan and coalition forces with hostile fire." The statement also said that another four people were detained and that soldiers seized multiple weapons, ammunition and grenades. There were no coalition casualties. It's unclear if the suspected al Qaeda facilitator is believed to be among those killed or detained. Kunar is an unstable region bordering Pakistan where the Taliban and forces loyal to an anti-government warlord operate. More than 1,000 people, mostly militants, have died in the last three months in the country's worst rash of violence since U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban regime in late 2001. The raid come as the body of a Canadian killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan was sent home. That same day, an Afghan boy who was shot and killed by a Canadian soldier was returned to his parents. Canadian Cpl. David Braun was killed on Tuesday when a suicide attacker struck a Canadian convoy in Kandahar. Three other soldiers were injured in the accident. Meanwhile, an investigation will be held into the shooting of the 10-year-old Afghan, who was killed shortly after a suicide attack that killed Braun. Several hours after the bombing, an Afghan teenager and the young boy on a motorcycle ran through a cordon that had been set up around the perimeter of the attack site. Soldiers were fearful of another suicide attack and fired on the motorcycle after several warnings to stop, NATO said in a statement. The shooting will be investigated by the military's National Investigation Service.

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