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Four students die in Afghanistan crossfire: ministry

world Updated: Apr 24, 2010 12:41 IST

AFP
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Four students were killed in crossfire between foreign soldiers and insurgents in eastern Afghanistan, the education ministry said on Saturday.

The incident took place in the Gurbuz district of Khost province at about 6:00 pm (1330 GMT) on Friday, it said in a statement. A spokesman for the ministry said that NATO forces opened fire on the vehicle.

"The students... Were killed in an exchange of fire between ISAF and the opposition," it said, referring to NATO's International Security Assistance Force and militants.

A spokesman for the ministry, Mohammad Asif Nang, told AFP: "Essentially the foreign forces opened fire on them."

The ministry did not say how old the students were.

The statement coincided with a release from ISAF that said four people had died in Khost after their vehicle was fired on by international soldiers while it was accelerating towards their convoy.

It was unclear if the two reports referred to the same incident.

All four of the dead were cousins, said their uncle Amir Salihan, adding that two of them were brothers.

He said they were aged 12, 18, 18 and 19 years old.

"All four were going to volleyball when this incident happened," he told AFP, adding: "They were not carrying weapons.