8 Afghans killed in early morning raid

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Eight people, including one child, were killed in an early morning raid by US and Afghan forces in the Asmar, a village in the Kunar province of Afghanistan bordering Pakistan. American forces claim that the seven adults were linked with al-Qaeda while Afghan police deny this saying that the victims were local families and elders who had gathered to resolve a dispute.

The US military says the raid was launched after American and Afghan forces came under attack.

"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."

Weapons, ammunition and grenades were seized according to the American statement.

The dead child was between the ages of 10 and 12 according to Colonel Thomas Collins who claimed "al-Qaeda fighters deliberately put women and children at risk in an effort to protect their illegal and immoral operations."

American forces have been involved in heavy fighting in Kunar in the past month as they search for Taleban and al-Qaeda fighters in the rugged mountains of the region.