12 Afghan civilians, including 5 children, killed

March 7, 2011 - 0:0

KABUL (Agencies) –A roadside bomb killed 12 civilians, including five children, in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday in an attack President Hamid Karzai condemned as “against all principles of Islam.”

A spokesman for the governor of Paktika province, Mokhlis Afghan, said another five people were wounded Sunday when the bomb planted by insurgents exploded next to a truck carrying civilians. He said the dead included five children, five men and two women. The truck was traveling between the towns of Turwa and Wazakhwa, AP reported.
Also on Sunday, hundreds of people protested angrily in Kabul over the deaths of nine children in a NATO air raid.
Rebels loyal to the Taliban and other militant groups often use improvised -- or home-made -- bombs in attacks against Afghan security forces and their Western military backers, AFP reported.
There are about 140,000 foreign military forces operating in Afghanistan under the command of the United States.
Bombs are usually planted on public roads and often kill civilians instead of their military targets. A similar device on February 26 killed nine civilians in Khost province, which borders Paktika.
Sunday's incident follows a string of militant attacks and military operations by foreign forces that have caused dozens of civilian deaths.
Nine children were killed on Tuesday in an air raid carried out by coalition helicopters in the eastern province of Kunar.
The strike was against insurgents who had attacked a military post but it hit the children by mistake, according to military officials.
President Karzai angrily condemned the killings and U.S. President Barack Obama and General David Petraeus, the commander of the U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan, apologized for the incident.
About 500 people poured onto the streets of Kabul on Sunday and chanted anti-American slogans over the deaths.
Marching through central Kabul they shouted “Death to America -- Death to the invaders.” A placard carried by a veiled woman read: “Occupation = killing + destruction.”
The protest follows similar demonstrations in Kunar over the deaths of the children, who were killed while collecting firewood in the province's Dar-e-Pech district.
NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the children were mistaken for rebels
“We don't want the invading forces,” chanted one demonstrator carrying posters of the dead children. Another shouted: “Death to the government of President Hamid Karzai!”
“When I saw the demonstration and realized it is against the Americans I joined,” Azizullah, one of the protesters, who uses one name, told AFP.
Civilian casualties are a highly sensitive issue in Afghanistan.
Karzai says deaths of civilians in military operations turn people against his pro-U.S. administration. Civilian casualties have been a key source of tension between Kabul and its Western backers, the U.S. and NATO.