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Afghan President Hamid Karzai at a gathering to mark International Women's Day on Tuesday. AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq

Afghan president's cousin mistakenly killed by NATO - reports

President Karzai’s brother said their cousin was shot dead by NATO troops during a raid yesterday. The UN says that some 2,777 civilians were killed in Afghan violence last year.

A COUSIN OF AFGHAN PRESIDENT Hamid Karzai has been mistakenly killed by NATO forces, according to the leader’s brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai.

NATO forces stormed the home of Mohammad Karzai, 65, in Kandahar last night, killing him and detaining his son.

Although the president’s office had no comment on the incident, the Afghan leader’s brother said: “[The victim] was a tribal leader. This was a mistake. He was not the target”.

Taliban spokesperson Qari Yousef Ahmadi said the killing proved that the “Americans are friends of no one. They kill Taliban because we are against them, but they also kill those people who are their supporters or helping the Americans who are here”.

Protection for civilians

Karzai had earlier appealed to the UN to put pressure on NATO to be more careful in their Afghan operations, and said in a statement:

The continuous killing of civilians is not acceptable to the Afghan people and government. As Afghan president, I have a responsibility to protect the lives of the Afghan people.

The president heavily criticised the accidental killing of nine children by NATO troops last week.

NATO commander General Petraeus apologised for the deaths of the boys aged between 7 and 12. He said there seemed to have been miscommunication between coalition helicopters regarding the location of militants.

The UN says that 2,777 civilians were killed in fighting in Afghanistan last year – an increase of 15 per cent on civilian casualties in 2009.

- Includes reporting from the AP

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