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Karzai's Cousin Killed by Coalition Forces, Says President's Brother

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, March 10, 2011.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's brother said Thursday that NATO-led forces mistakenly killed a cousin of Afghan President Hamid Karzai during operations in southern Afghanistan.

Provincial council chief Ahmad Wali Karzai said Yar Mohammad Khan was killed at his home in the Dand district of Kandahar province late Wednesday as coalition forces pursued insurgents in the area.

Afghan and NATO officials are investigating the incident.

Earlier on Thursday, the coalition said NATO and Afghan forces captured a Taliban leader, killed an armed individual and detained several suspected insurgents during operations in Kandahar city on Wednesday. It's unclear whether the individual reportedly killed in those operations is Karzai's cousin.

President Karzai has called the killing of civilians in NATO operations unacceptable. On Thursday, he urged the United Nations to put pressure on NATO to exercise greater care in protecting civilians while pursuing insurgents.

Mr Karzai last week rejected an apology from General David Petraeus, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, after a NATO airstrike killed nine boys in northeastern Kunar province.

Meanwhile, in northern Afghanistan, German troops accidentally killed a woman during a gun battle Wednesday in the Chardara district of Kunduz province, police said. Coalition officials said Thursday they were investigating the incident.

Also Thursday, NATO says a roadside bomb killed one of its service members in southern Afghanistan.

This week, the United Nations reported the number of war-related civilian deaths increased 15 percent last year.