A global human rights organization called for Afghan and US military authorities to immediately investigate allegations that Afghan government forces execute civilians without legal process in recent counter-Taliban operations in southern Kandahar province.  According to a Human Rights Watch report Wednesday, allegations of human rights violations occurred from January 31 to February 1, when Afghan special forces, backed by US air strikes, carried out attacks in Maiwand and Panjwai districts.  The report quoted local residents as saying that Afghan forces opened fire on a number of people trying to flee from Band-e Timor, a region that has long been a stronghold of the Taliban.
Battle in Ghazni, Afghanistan Kills 7 Civilians
The attack killed 50 Taliban insurgents and at least 20 civilians. Government troops also allegedly dragged out some men from their homes and shot them.
Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said he had not been able to respond because he had not read the report. But Waziri insists the authorities immediately and thoroughly investigate all allegations of violations in combat.
"Opposition forces often deliberately occupy civilian homes for wanting civilian casualties. However, Afghan forces need to take all precautions so as not to harm civilians, "he said. [ab/lt]