21 Feb 2011

NATO raids alleged to have killed many civilians

9:45 am on 21 February 2011

NATO says it will investigate reports that it has killed dozens of civilians in recent days in ground and air strikes in eastern Afghanistan.

The governor of Kunar province has said 64 civilians, including 20 women and a number of children, have been killed in recent NATO-led air strikes in a remote mountainous district.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai later said more than 50 civilians had died.

NATO claims to have killed more than 30 insurgents in an overnight raid in the area two days ago. A NATO spokesperson in Afghanistan has told the BBC that they had no evidence of any civilian casualties, but that they were looking into the reports.

Mr Karzai says he has sent a government delegation to the district to investigate the incident.

2010 was 'deadliest year'

Earlier this month, a human rights watchdog said that 2010 was the deadliest year for Afghans since the war began in 2001.

Afghanistan Rights Monitor said the Taliban were responsible for about 60% of the 2400 civilians killed, while US-led forces were accountable for 21%.

Last year, the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks leaked a swathe of documents relating to the Afghan war, which suggested that many civilian casualties were going unreported.

At least 40 killed in bank attack

The death toll from a suicide attack on a bank in east Afghanistan has risen to at least 40.

Seven gunmen and suicide bombers dressed as border police officers attacked an office of the private Kabulbank in Jalalabad city, starting a gunbattle that lasted several hours.

The head of police in Jalalabad and his deputy were among at least 70 people wounded.