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Afghan street protests after US raid kills 2

Hundreds of Afghans demonstrated against an overnight US military raid that one villager said killed several civilians. The American military said its forces only killed two militants.

world Updated: Feb 01, 2009 21:45 IST

Hundreds of Afghans demonstrated on Sunday against an overnight US military raid that one villager said killed several civilians. The American military said its forces only killed two militants.

The angry protesters gathered on the main highway linking Kabul and Kandahar near the site of the raid, the latest to stir up Afghan ire against foreign forces accused of killing civilians.

Also on Sunday, a suicide bomber in a car attacked a convoy of foreign troops in Kabul, wounding two Afghans, police said. Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the attack.

The US military said that its overnight raid in southeastern Ghazni province targeted a militant who coordinates attacks using roadside bombs and other weapons. It said coalition forces conducting the operation called out for all inhabitants to leave the targeted home, but several people barricaded themselves inside one building.

Coalition troops forced their way in and killed two militants, the US military said in a statement.

Sayed Ismail Jahangir, a spokesman for Ghazni's governor, said local officials also reported two people killed in the raid. "We are now investigating. Who are these two killed, civilians or insurgents?" Jahangir said.

The issue of civilian deaths is highly sensitive in Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai has pleaded for years with US and NATO forces to prevent the deaths of innocent Afghans during military operations.

Over the last month some 50 Afghans -- the vast majority civilians, according to Afghan officials -- were killed in three separate US Special Forces operations.