WASHINGTON, May 12, 2011 — Combined forces mistakenly shot and killed a young Afghan girl yesterday during a shootout with suspected Taliban forces in the Surkh Rod district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, military officials reported.
Troops were searching for a Taliban leader who they believe is planning a future attack in the district when an insurgent opened fire on the troops. Forces returned fire and killed the insurgent. The young girl was killed soon after when she attempted to run out the back entrance of the compound. Troops reported that they thought she was carrying a weapon, officials said.
“We are deeply sorry for this tragedy and apologize to the members of the Afghan government, the people of Afghanistan and, most importantly, the surviving family members of those killed by our actions,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Hal Pittman, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.
“We understand any civilian loss of life is detrimental to our cause and to our efforts to secure the population,” the admiral added.
The incident is under investigation, Pittman said.
In other operations yesterday in Afghanistan:
— Afghan and coalition forces captured a Haqqani terrorist network weapons trafficker and several of his associates during a clearing operation in Khost province’s Shamul district. Troops also killed an armed insurgent during the operation.
— Security forces in Kandahar province’s Panjwai district detained several suspected insurgents while searching for a Taliban leader linked to terrorist operations and bomb makers in a nearby village.
— In Khost province’s Sabari district, troops detained a Haqqani network terrorist and several others connected to bombings throughout the area.
— Forces detained several suspected insurgents linked to a Haqqani network weapons trafficker in Khost province’s Shamul district.
— Combined forces in Logar province’s Charkh district detained several suspected insurgents while searching for a Taliban leader responsible for coordinating and leading attacks on security forces in the area.
— In Wardak province’s Chak district, troops detained several suspected insurgents connected to a senior Taliban leader. The leader is responsible for kidnappings and attacks in the district.
— Afghan and coalition forces detained several suspected insurgents while searching for a Taliban leader who commands at least 10 fighters in Badghis province’s Murghab district.
— Security forces in Kandahar province’s Gorak district detained a suspected insurgent and found 3,307 pounds of ammonium chloride, which is used to make explosive devices.
Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Releases