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NATO Admits Killing Girl in Afghan Raid


An Afghan policeman stands guard near the scene of an explosion in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 21, 2011 (file photo).

An Afghan policeman stands guard near the scene of an explosion in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, east of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 21, 2011 (file photo).

NATO says a combined Afghan and coalition force has killed a young girl and an Afghan policeman during an operation against a Taliban leader in eastern Afghanistan.

The incident took place Wednesday in the Surkh Rod district of Nangarhar province.

NATO issued a statement Thursday saying a man at the Taliban leader's suspected compound threatened security forces with a gun, and was killed. An investigation later found he was employed by the Afghan National Police.

The coalition said that after the combined force secured the building, a person later identified as an unarmed Afghan girl was shot as she ran from the back of the compound, after forces mistakenly thought she had a gun.

Local residents say the girl was 12 years old.

A NATO official apologized, and said the coalition is working with Afghan security officials to understand what happened and take steps to prevent future incidents.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly criticized NATO for civilian casualties caused by coalition forces. In March, he told the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, U.S. General David Petraeus, that civilian casualties are "no longer acceptable."

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

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