Canadian soldiers kill Afghan police officer

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

In the second of what was termed a "regrettable incident" this week, an Afghan National Police officer was shot and killed by Canadian soldiers. Canadian troops opened fire on an Afgan National Police vehicle that was approaching a military installation west of Kandahar. Armed personnel on board the vehicle returned fire, resulting in a shootout between the Canadians and the Afgan police. The occupants of the vehicle are now believed to be members of Afganistan's secret police force, the Amaniyat. Members of Amaniyat do have uniforms, but rarely wear them and rarely travel in marked vehicles.

"It is believed that the persons in the vehicle opened fire in response to warning shots fired by the Canadians," said Col. Fred Lewis, commander of the Canadian forces in Afganistan. "It was at this time [that] Canadian soldiers returned fire on the vehicle and its six occupants." The six were taken to the multinational military hospital at Kandahar airfield and are undergoing treatment. They are currently listed in serious but stable condition.

40 minutes later, a second incident occurred reminiscent of a shooting earlier this week in which a 10 year old boy was killed. Two motorcyclists were injured when they approached the same artillery installation at allegedly high speed. Canadian troops opened fire on the motorcycle riders after they allegedly failed to heed warning shots. "Efforts to slow or divert the scooter failed and troops subsequently fired shots in self-defence. One man was injured by a shot while the other wounded when the scooter ran off the road," stated a press release from NATO. The motorcyclists were later identified as also being members of the Afghan police.

"It would appear that Canadian soldiers reacted in self-defence in both incidents, one of which was regrettably a friendly force on friendly force engagement," Lewis said.

NATO apologized for the incidents, describing both shootings as self-defence reactions to volatile circumstances. Canada's military investigative body, the NIS and the Afghan police will investigate the shootings.

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