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NATO Soldiers Kill 4 Afghan Civilians


The NATO alliance in Afghanistan says its troops killed four civilians and wounded three others Saturday when the soldiers opened fire on a car that failed to stop at a checkpoint in the southern province of Helmand.

Officials say warning shots were fired away from the car when it refused to stop, but they say the troops then were forced to fire at the vehicle because they feared an insurgent attack.

NATO said it deeply regrets what it called "this unnecessary incident caused by the reckless actions of the vehicle driver."

Civilian casualties have been a sore point between Afghanistan's government and international forces.

The United Nations says nearly 700 Afghan civilians have been killed this year in crossfire between Taliban insurgents and foreign forces.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called on foreign troops to minimize civilian casualties.

In other news, Canadian Foreign Minister David Emerson said Canada will send an additional 200 troops to Afghanistan. Emerson made the statement at a news conference in the Afghan capital, Kabul, during his first visit to the country since taking office in May.

Emerson said Canada was comforted after receiving commitments from other NATO allies to increase troops, particularly in southern Kandahar province. Canada has 2,500 troops serving in Afghanistan, the majority deployed in Kandahar.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also met with Afghan leaders during a visit to Kabul Saturday. He said making Afghanistan secure is key to the country's reconstruction.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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