Afghanistan — Afghan Civilians Killed in Bus Incident

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2010 — NATO’s Inter­na­tion­al Assis­tance Secu­ri­ty Force in Afghanistan is express­ing regret over civil­ian casu­al­ties that occurred today after a bus was dri­ven toward a patrol of inter­na­tion­al troops, mil­i­tary offi­cials said.
ISAF offi­cials released a state­ment that says ISAF “deeply regrets the trag­ic loss of life” in the Zhari dis­trict of Kan­da­har province ear­ly this morn­ing after troops fired at a bus in which the dri­ver ignored warn­ings and tried to speed into the patrol.

Four civil­ians were killed, five oth­ers were treat­ed for injuries at the scene, and 13 peo­ple checked them­selves into med­ical facil­i­ties fol­low­ing the pre-dawn inci­dent, which occurred when a large vehi­cle speed­ed toward the rear of a slow-mov­ing ISAF route-clear­ance patrol, offi­cials said. The con­voy could not move to the side of the road to allow the vehi­cle to pass due to the steep embank­ment, offi­cials said. The ISAF patrol warned off the approach­ing vehi­cle once with a flash­light and three times with flares, but the dri­ver did­n’t heed the warn­ings.
Per­ceiv­ing a threat when the vehi­cle approached once more at an increased rate of speed, the patrol attempt­ed to warn off the vehi­cle with hand sig­nals pri­or to fir­ing upon it. Once it was engaged, the vehi­cle stopped.

Upon inspec­tion, ISAF forces dis­cov­ered the vehi­cle to be a pas­sen­ger bus. The ISAF patrol pro­vid­ed imme­di­ate med­ical assis­tance to five injured civil­ians and trans­port­ed some of them to local med­ical facil­i­ties. A com­bined Afghan-inter­na­tion­al inci­dent assess­ment team is review­ing the events.

In oth­er news from Afghanistan:

— A com­bined secu­ri­ty force cap­tured a Haqqani ter­ror­ist group mem­ber believed to be respon­si­ble for impro­vised explo­sive device attacks against Afghan and coali­tion forces. The com­bined force was approach­ing a group in the Zur­mat dis­trict of Pak­tia province when sev­er­al mil­i­tants start­ed to run. One turned and charged the secu­ri­ty force, and was shot and wound­ed. The rest of the mil­i­tants were quick­ly cor­nered by the force and sur­ren­dered. A search of the mil­i­tants’ tents uncov­ered mul­ti­ple auto­mat­ic rifles, grenades and ammu­ni­tion.

— In Nad‑e Ali dis­trict of Hel­mand province this morn­ing, a com­bined patrol found a cache con­tain­ing sev­en rock­et-pro­pelled grenades, two mor­tar rounds, 30 artillery rounds, eight 60 mm shells and oth­er ammu­ni­tion. An explo­sive ord­nance dis­pos­al team destroyed the cache.

— In Kan­da­har last night, a com­bined force searched a com­pound in south Kan­da­har City and detained two sus­pect­ed mil­i­tants for fur­ther ques­tion­ing.

— Also in Kan­da­har last night, anoth­er com­bined force searched a com­pound west of Kan­da­har City after intel­li­gence indi­cat­ed mil­i­tant activ­i­ty. The force cap­tured a Tal­iban mem­ber involved in road­side-bomb emplace­ments, defens­es and assign­ments. Sev­er­al oth­er mil­i­tants also were cap­tured in the oper­a­tion. The assault force also found explo­sive mate­ri­als. — In the Tirin Kot dis­trict of Uruz­gan province yes­ter­day, an ISAF patrol found a cache con­tain­ing two RPG rounds, an RPG rock­et and three box­es of small-arms ammu­ni­tion. An EOD team destroyed the cache.

— Afghan sol­diers detained a man with bomb mate­ri­als and pic­tures of ISAF vehi­cles in the Sabari dis­trict of Khost province April 10 after mem­bers of an ISAF unit saw the man emplac­ing a road­side bomb. The explo­sives were destroyed.

–Also on April 10, a com­bined force searched a com­pound in north Lashkar Gah in Hel­mand province and detained two sus­pect­ed mil­i­tants for fur­ther ques­tion­ing. No shots were fired and no civil­ians were harmed dur­ing these oper­a­tions, offi­cials said.

(Com­piled from Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force Joint Com­mand news releas­es.)

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)