April 12, 2010
Four Afghan civilians were killed when international troops opened fire today on a bus in the southern province of Kandahar, the Taliban heartland where coalition forces are preparing a new offensive.
A patrol of International Security Assistance Force soldiers attempted to warn off an approaching vehicle traveling at speed before dawn using flares, flashlights and hand signals, NATO said in statement. When it failed to respond, they fired on the vehicle, it added.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai “strongly condemned” the shooting, Agence France-Presse reported. Today’s killings in the province’s Zhari district come as Karzai’s ties with the United States have been strained by a series of anti-West comments by the president.
In recent speeches, Karzai said the West was responsible for fraud in his country’s 2009 elections and threatened to join the Taliban if the international community continued to pressure him. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called the remarks “genuinely troubling.”