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'4 civilians killed by NATO troops'

International troops opened fire on a civilian bus early today in a southern Afghan city, killing four people and wounding 18, the local governor's spokesman said.

world Updated: Apr 12, 2010 12:35 IST

International troops opened fire on a civilian bus early Monday in a southern Afghan city, killing four people and wounding 18, the local governor's spokesman said.

NATO was sending investigators to the scene but didn't immediately say its troops were responsible for the shooting in Kandahar.

The governor's spokesman, Zelmai Ayubi, said the shooting occurred soon after daybreak and that international troops took 12 of the wounded to a military hospital.

Ayubi said the provincial government strongly condemned the shooting.

NATO spokesman Mst Sgt Jeff Loftin said the alliance had dispatched a team to the scene to investigate. He said the local command in Kandahar had no further information on what happened.

The top NATO commander in Afghanistan, US Gen Stanley McChrystal, has issued strict orders to his troops to try to reduce civilian casualties.

But these still occur regularly, unleashing raw emotions that highlight a growing impatience with coalition forces' inability to secure the nation after more than eight years of war.

The support of the local population in Kandahar is seen as essential for the success of a long-anticipated allied operation to clear the biggest city in the south of Taliban insurgents.