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NATO, Afghan Officials Differ Over Deadly Raid

Security contractors working in Afghanistan (FILE).
Security contractors working in Afghanistan (FILE).

NATO and Afghan officials are both trying to determine what happened during an overnight raid in Kabul that left two men dead.

Afghan officials Friday blamed the incident on foreign forces led by NATO, saying the two dead men were private security guards at a compound for an Afghan security firm.

But NATO officials said the men were killed after shooting at a joint NATO-Afghan patrol looking to pre-empt a possible attack on the U.S. embassy.

NATO said its forces came under fire as they approached two vehicles thought to be loaded with explosives. NATO said its forces then returned fire, killing two of the shooters and capturing a third. Fifteen other people were also taken into custody. A high ranking Afghan commander then took command of the scene, said NATO, who vouched for those in custody and had them released.

NATO said it captured a large number of weapons during the operation.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has banned most private security firms from operating in Afghanistan. Those that are allowed to operate have been ordered to adhere to strict regulations.

Earlier Friday, NATO forces said a suspected weapons smuggler captured in Afghanistan is not a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard as previously reported.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said initial intelligence reports were inaccurate, and that the man is not a member of Iran's elite al-Quds force. An ISAF statement maintained that the suspect "may be affiliated with several insurgent-related organizations."

The man was captured last Saturday in the Zhiarri district in the southern province of Kandahar, where coalition forces are leading a major offensive against Taliban militants. He was targeted for helping to move arms across the border from Iran to Afghanistan.

U.S. military officials have accused Iran of directly supporting Taliban militants with training and equipment while simultaneously providing financial backing for the Afghan government.

Iran insists the funding it gives to Afghanistan is for aid and reconstruction. Tehran also opposes the presence of international troops in the country.

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