Oops - Australians accidentally kill Afghani governor

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Oops - Australians accidentally kill Afghani governor

This is not a good look after the botched attacks in Pakistan.

AUSTRALIAN special forces troops in Afghanistan have accidentally killed a district governor and two of his bodyguards in a botched raid that will pose a further setback to the battle against the Taliban insurgency.

The provincial police chief, General Juma Gulab Khan, confirmed last night that Australian troops in the southern province of Oruzgan had surrounded a house they suspected of harbouring Taliban fighters and shot a district chief, Rozi Khan.

He said Rozi Khan, a former police chief, had gone to the house of a friend who thought his house was surrounded by Taliban militants. In fact, the house had been surrounded by Australian troops

The Defence Force said of the incident last night that special forces troops may have accidentally killed several Afghan police near the provincial capital, Tarin Kowt, but had been returning fire in self-defence.

"After being fired upon from a number of locations the [special forces] patrol returned fire in self-defence," a statement said.

"Although the facts are not clear at present, it is possible that a number of Afghan police may have been killed."

General Khan told the Herald that two bodyguards were killed and another two injured in the firefight.

No Australians were injured in the incident.

The botched raid comes just days after the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, called for a review of the use of lethal force after the deaths of scores of civilians in a series of controversial attacks.

The attacks have caused growing tension between the Afghan Government and the Western forces.

A Defence spokesman said last night the details remained unclear but the incident was under investigation.

"The Australian Defence Force takes all such incidents very seriously and is conducting an assessment to clarify the circumstances of the attack," he said.

"The ADF will work closely with [the international forces] and Afghan authorities both in Oruzgan province and in Kabul to investigate this matter."

Rozi Khan was the district governor of Chora district, a former mujahideen commander and an influential tribal leader.

But General Khan denied Defence reports that the other men killed were policemen.

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By netchicken: posted on 19-9-2008

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