Kabul, Apr.13 (ANI): Ordinary Afghans and tribal elders have reportedly expressed concern and anger of the latest incident of violence involving American troops in Kandahar City.
According to The Globe and Mail, they say the attack on a passenger bus outside Kandahar in which four passengers were killed, has the potential for "collateral damage.
Although the military command issued an apology, saying it "deeply regrets the tragic loss of life," Monday's incident cast fresh doubts on Operation Omid, billed as the pivotal offensive of the war, which will see tens of thousands of NATO troops attempt to seize control of Kandahar.
NATO officials were already struggling to win support for the offensive, but Monday's shooting has led to angry Afghans spilling into the streets, burning tires and chanting "Death to America."
The shooting occurred before dawn when a bus carrying about 50 passengers travelling west on the main highway from Kandahar city approached a military convoy on a road-clearing mission, sweeping for land mines and improvised explosive devices.
Military officials said in a statement that "an unknown, large vehicle" drove "at a high rate of speed" toward the convoy.
Troops signalled the driver to stop with flares, flashlights and hand signals before firing, according to the statement.
"Once engaged, the vehicle then stopped," the statement read. Later, NATO forces "discovered the ehicle to be a passenger bus."
Anger over civilian deaths has hobbled Western efforts to draw support away from the insurgency.
The latest United Nations report suggests militants were responsible for 55 per cent of war-related civilian deaths in Afghanistan in 2008, the last year for which figures were available. However, coalition or Afghan forces killed 39 per cent. (ANI)