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Taliban Continue Human Shield Tactics in AfghanistanFrontline-News.com
A number of civilians were killed, NATO says it is because the Taliban use them as shields.
(HABERABAD, Afghanistan) - Taliban terrorists continue to use innocent civilians in Afghanistan as shields, NATO officials said today. Afghan and American soldiers under International Security Assistance Force command participated in Operation Ghartse Ghar in Helmand province yesterday.
They say the goal was to clear Taliban forces from both sides of the Helmand River in the village of Haderabad.
Afghanistan has growing similarities with other wars in the past, and the conventional weapons by enemy forces remains steady. After battling enemy forces most of the day, Afghan and coalition forces came under heavy fire from enemy small arms, medium machine guns, 82 mm mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.
The Afghan and coalition forces identified several enemy positions during this exchange, including mortar positions, observation posts, compounds and a trench system. They returned fire and called in close-air support. All enemy positions were destroyed in the engagement.
Though Afghan and coalition forces appear to have fired at clearly identified firing positions, said Army Maj. Chris Belcher, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force 82, there are reports of civilian casualties.
"After our forces surveyed the area, there are reports of some possible civilian deaths," Belcher said.
The troops found the remains of innocent civilians who were killed in firing positions in a trench line. This differs substantially from other recent reports of civilian casualties, as reports place these individuals in the actual trenches with the enemy forces. Belcher says Coalition soldiers are deeply saddened by any loss of innocent lives.
"Insurgents are continuing their tactic of using women and children as human shields in close combat with friendly forces."
In other news from Afghanistan, Afghan and coalition forces in the Ghazni Province detained a number of insurgents during an operation today. They say that fortunately, no shots were fired and no one was injured in the operation.
Coalition forces say they acted on credible intelligence which indicated the location was a hideout for foreign fighters connected to the Haqqani network, officials said. The detainees will be questioned as to their identities and involvement in militant activities.
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