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US troops open fire on innocent people in Afghan

By Staff
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Khost (Afghanistan), Apr 18: US-led troops in southeastern Afghanistan wounded a new born baby girl, her mother, a five-year-old boy and three other Afghans, when they opened fire on cars that had ignored instructions to stop, police and residents today said.

The mother was hit in the chest and two women relatives were also struck by bullets, while the baby, who was born just hours earlier, was cut on the face and hands by shattered glass.

The child's grandfather, Abdul Wakil, was unhurt and described how their car had passed a military convoy in Yaqoobi district on Tuesday night and turned onto a small road leading home when the firing opened up.

''They started firing, the car's tyres were punctured and the soldiers came out and spoke to us through a translator. We told them that they destroyed our lives and they rushed off without saying anything,'' Wakil told Reuters.

The US military in Kabul could not be reached for immediate comment.

Two more Afghans, a five-year-old boy and another youngster were wounded by US-led troops in another part of Khost today morning, police said.

Provincial police chief Mohammad Ayoub said in both cases the cars had been told to stop by the soldiers.

The victims of yesterday night's shooting were being treated in a hospital at Khost town, while the two wounded today morning were taken to a U.S.-led military medical facility, residents said.

Military convoys in the south and east mark their convoys usually bear a warning, written in local languages, that ''Overtaking is forbidden''.

But most Afghans in rural areas are illiterate.

Attacks by Taliban fighters and their Islamist militant allies on both Afghan and U S-led forces have increased in recent weeks.

Yesterday, US-led forces killed five Taliban guerrillas in eastern Kunar province, according to the military.

Just a few days earlier at least seven civilians were killed in Kunar during a US-led operation against the Taliban.

The Taliban and its allies have run an insurgency ever since their government was ousted by U.S.-backed forces in late 2001.

REUTERS

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